Are you an emotional eater? Here are some tips.

I remember where I was standing and the feeling I had (I don’t remember what I was about to devour) when I made the decision that food would not help solve my problems.

I was standing in my kitchen, at the counter in front of the dishwasher, looking out a small window when I was about to eat something because my stomach was in knots and that was my go-to habit.

It hit me…I was going to feel worse, a lot worse, if I ate that food.

Not only would I feel bloated, tired and yucky, I’d also feel guilty AND my stress would still be there.

Eating that food wasn’t going to solve my problems

It was that instant that I had a rational conversation with myself that eating because of stress would not solve my problem, only enhance it…and I put the food down.

You might want to try asking yourself that question, too.

“Will this food really make me feel better, solve my problem or contribute in any way to helping me reach my fitness or health goals?” Or for that matter, will it help in any area of your life?

This is mindful eating and it takes practice and it’s the first step.

Next, don’t put yourself in tempting situations.

Don’t buy junk food – that’s usually what you go for when you eat out of stress, but it could be any type of highly processed starchy carbs like bread, bagels, cereal, chips, etc. – I doubt you’ll overeat celery sticks or grilled fish!

If it’s not in the house or the office, you can’t eat it.

Then, decide what you CAN do to relieve the tension and stress.

Some ideas for you:

  • Go for a walk outside. Our bodies crave and need to be outside and if you spend most of your days in the office or house, your body and mind are silently imploring you to step out into the sunshine.
  • Meditate. Nope…it doesn’t (and shouldn’t be) have to be a practice of wiping your brain clear of thought, BUT you can stop, focus on your breathe – the inhale and the exhale. A practice of breathing exercises will bring your blood pressure down, relax your muscles and bring more O2 into your body.
  • Connect with a friend, colleague or your mom. Maybe you need to feel connected to someone or maybe a little venting from a non-judgemental friend is all you need.
  • Jumping Jacks – If you’re really short on time and notice your going for the brownies your daughter baked last night – do a bunch of jumping jacks or running in place to get your heart rate up, maybe throw some squats or push-ups in there, too.

If you’re an emotional eater, you can stop the pattern, but you’ll have to want to, first.