Emotional eating can have many causes, but it all produces the same result. You gain weight and feel like you have lost control.
While you may be blaming yourself for your lack of ‘willpower’ or not trying hard enough, there is often something else at work.
Many of our common daily habits tend to undermine a manageable, healthy diet. When we are ready to make a change, we often make the first mistake straight away - we try and change everything at once. It rarely works.
You may think you are being virtuous for starting a super-strict diet but, being too restrictive can backfire. Frequently these types of diets ignore the practices that are needed to developing the skills for sustained results. (and I do not mean calorie counting skills!)
Try to make one small change at a time until it becomes an easy daily practice that you are comfortable with, then move onto the next.
What is your Trigger?
Identify the trigger that leads to your overeating and have a plan in place to counter it. Make this plan your daily practice. For example, if you find that you are getting home late from work feeling stressed and you head straight to the fridge or pantry cupboard (trigger) which leads to eating blocks of cheese, crisps and biscuits – what can your plan be?
Your may decide that your daily practice could be to pour a glass of water and take 5 minutes to sit down, sip and unwind.
What if you still feel like something after you have taken your time out?
Have healthy choices available
Decisions on what to eat are usually made when you are already hungry. You do not necessarily need to plan out each meal. Try to keep healthy options easily available – for example, fruit and vegetables that you like and will snack on instead of the crisps and biscuits or even a pre-prepared meal that you can easily heat.
So once you have finished the water and had time to change the trigger, you know that you now have healthy choices available.
Keep in mind that highly processed foods are designed to make you want to eat more, but real food fills you up on all the right nutrients.
Eating a minimally processed diet has other benefits, including, lowering rates of heart disease and type II diabetes.
Another example would be that you have identified that the minute your children are in bed and the chaos of school work, lunches and dinner is done your trigger is to dig into the ice cream – again, what can your plan of action be? For example, once the children are settled, I am going to go and have a quiet, relaxing bath.
Identify the trigger and have a plan of action in place to counteract it.
There are many triggers that can lead to emotional eating, not only stress, but boredom, exhaustion, and even social influences can lead to stress eating.
This is where a coach can guide you in creating positive eating practices and to develop a better relationship with food.