Today was just one of those days that I could just go home and eat a whole tub of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream and not think anything about it. I am sure we have all done that at one point in your lives. But do you really feel better after eating that ice cream, or does your sadness, anger and frustration come back? Of course it does because you are not dealing with the root of the problem.
Emotional eating is something that everyone does at some point of their lives. What is emotional eating? Emotional eating is using food to make yourself feel better—eating to fill emotional needs, rather than to fill your stomach. This week we are going to give you some tips on how to avoid this. First, just LET IT OUT! If you are angry, sad, or frustrated, just let it out. If you are sad and need a good cry, why not rent a tearjerker movie? If you are aggravated, take out aggression by cleaning your tub.
Try distancing yourself from your comfort food. Research has shown that the fewer steps you have to go to get the food the more likely you are to eat it. So try stashing your candy, cookies, ice cream and any other comfort foods you may turn to on a higher shelf where you can’t reach them or have a hard time getting to them. If you have to work too hard to get your fix you are more likely to just forget about it.
For many people emotional eating starts mainly on the weekends. If you want to avoid this, plan a project or activity that you enjoy for the weekend and give yourself a deadline. Keeping this deadline in mind you do not have much time to sit in front of the TV with the ice cream and waste a whole day.
How do you know if you are an emotional eater? Emotional eating comes on suddenly. Physical hunger comes on gradually. Emotional hunger, also craves specific comfort foods. When you’re physically hungry, almost anything sounds good—including healthy stuff like vegetables. But emotional hunger craves fatty foods or sugary snacks that provide an instant rush. You feel like you need cheesecake or pizza, and nothing else will do. Emotional hunger isn’t satisfied once you are full. You will stuff yourself until you are so uncomfortable. Physical hunger you do not need to be stuffed in order to feel full. Finally, emotional hunger often leads to guilt and shame where physical hunger does not.
Don’t let your emotions get the best of you! For more information, please contact the Wayne County YMCA at (570) 253-2083 or online at ymcawayne.com.