Updated: Jul 30, 2020
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This is something that is near and dear to my heart because I was an emotional/stress eater.
In fact, emotional eating and/or stress eating plus low thyroid is what led to me gaining weight very rapidly. I went from a size 8 (140 lbs) to weighting 197! You can read more about my story AND why I’m so passionate about helping others --> here.
Let’s look at what emotional eating (also known as stress eating) is...
Emotional eating or stress eating can be defined as eating to compensate for, as an alternative to, dealing with emotions.
There are various levels of emotional eating (stress eating) – from eating a whole quart of ice cream or binge eating a whole bag of chips to ... just wanting a little something to minister to your emotions to soothe you when you are in a rough patch.
Triggers of Emotional / Stress Eating
Emotional eating can come from a feeling of being deprived. Either physically or emotionally.
Or it can be from a feeling of being out of control or helpless in a situation.
Emotional Eating can also be from Past Emotional Traumas/ Events
When we have unexpressed or unresolved emotions from past painful or traumatic events they can affect our bodies in different ways. Things like digestion issues, mental and emotional issues, hormonal imbalance, thyroid, and adrenal issues, even pains and aches like neck and back pain or joint pain can come from unresolved emotional pain.
^ that was my comfort food
Steps for Success. How to Stop Emotional (Stress) Eating
Before I discuss how to stop emotional eating... let’s first look at some foundational tips that can set you up for success for when you need a little something to help you through a rough time. It’s OK to indulge with healthier options in small amounts occasionally.
Have you heard of the 80/20 Rule? You eat healthily 80% of the time and 20% you can ‘splurge’.
Well… you may be doing 80% of the 'right' things but that 20% is hindering your progress.
First, providing yourself with Smart Swaps for the foods you crave will help to keep your food choices healthier.
Instead of a candy bar, cake, cookies, etc. Try some dark chocolate chips and nuts. Or some dark chocolate dipped in your favorite nut butter.
For something salty, veggie chips, baked chips or even rice cakes are good alternatives.
Next, keep a food journal and track what you eat throughout the day. Having a clear picture of the amount and types of food you consume can help you recognize any patterns.
There are many food tracking apps like, MyFitnessPal, that can make tracking easier.<