Do you find yourself nibbling all day? Does frustration drive you to the fridge? To the pantry? To that secret stash in your desk? Here’s the first in a series of tips to help stop emotional eating. The Word of the Week is “WAIT.” Wait at least 2 hours after your last meal before you eat again, and perhaps those negative emotions will pass.
Emotional eating can be caused by anger, anxiety, boredom, depression, loneliness, stress, or some combination of these emotions. It usually involves eating even when you’re not hungry. And it typically entails eating something indulgent, rather than healthy. I personally had a difficult experience with emotional eating after my postpartum psychosis, and really struggled to get out of that dark place that was overwhelming me with self loathing. You can read about it in my novel, “Back In Six Weeks.”
There’s nothing wrong with an occasional indulgence, but emotional eating often means over-indulgence. Having a scoop of ice cream on a Saturday afternoon with friends can be a great treat. Eating half a carton of ice cream alone on the couch is emotional eating, not so great. The result can add extra pounds, frustrate your attempts to eat healthy, and leave you feeling in the dumps rather than elated.
Yes, you can have that piece of chocolate – but save it for your afternoon snack and savor it, instead of gulping it down when you’ve just finished lunch.
Tips to help you WAIT
- Brush your teeth immediately after eating, then savor the clean taste in your mouth.
- Have set times for meals and snacks – 3 meals and 3 moderate snacks per day works well.
- Type up signs with the word “WAIT” and post them in your fridge, panty, desk and even on your watch.
- Between scheduled meal times, drink a large glass of water, flavored with a slice of fruit.
Allow time for those negative emotions to pass, then pat yourself on the back, and enjoy your next scheduled meal or snack with a smile on your face.