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Emotional Overeating Awareness Month - 4 Steps To Kick Your Bad Habits


April is Emotional Overeating Awareness Month - Emotional eating is a vast and varied topic with many differing avenues. However, it is crucial to understand why, what and when you are emotionally overeating, not just to achieve weight loss or retain your weight, but to be at peace and feel relaxed with food.


What is Emotional Overeating?

Essentially, this is when we use food as a way of coping with emotions. We often associate overeating with negative emotions, but it can be down to very positive ones too – what really matters is finding the driving force behind this behaviour and coming up with emotional eating tools and strategies to help. 

Emotional overeating can often be a vicious cycle. You are stressed and busy, so begin to comfort eat once given the chance. This sets off feelings of guilt and regret - suddenly you find yourself emotionally eating for a whole different set of reasons!

Society also highlights the importance of food for happy and social occasions – there really is no let up!

We are all emotional eaters at one point or another and most of us have our own triggers but there is nothing wrong with a treating yourself occasionally if you have achieved a goal or if you are celebrating a big occasion – the damage is done when emotional eating becomes a daily habit and begins to encroach on the feelings you have about your mental and physical wellness.


Are you an emotional overeater?

  • Do you eat more when you’re feeling stressed?
  • Do you eat when you are not hungry or full?
  • Do you eat to soothe any negative emotion you might be feeling?
  • Do you regularly reward yourself with food?
  • Do you regularly eat to the point of discomfort?
  • Do you feel powerless around food?

If any of the above apply to you, how can you begin to make positive changes?


Here is a quick-fire list of 4 strategies to help get you started:

1. Keep a food diary

This may seem a little too simple, but by keeping track of everything you consume, you will begin to recognise how much of what you are consuming is unnecessary. Statistics say that we underestimate 20% of what we eat every single day. For extra guidance, perhaps make a note of your mood as you eat – you may begin to notice a pattern with your food habits and the emotions you’re feeling.


2. Find other ways to feed your emotions

  • Anxious? Perhaps go for a stroll and get some fresh air.
  • Tired? Maybe run yourself a bath and get an early night.
  • Depressed? Perhaps arrange to meet a friend for a chat, maybe you have a pet you can play with?
  • Bored? Immerse yourself in a good book, watch your favourite film, or find a hobby.


3. Take 5 before giving into your momentary craving

Part of emotional overeating is simply just habit. So next time you get an emotional food craving, distract yourself with something else and reassess the situation in 5 minutes. This will make you mindful of your cravings, and the opportunity to question and make a different decision. By telling yourself to wait 5 minutes, this puts you back in control and you begin to make choices.


4. Start to build up healthy lifestyle habits

  • Make time for yourself – by giving yourself permission to do this, you are making the decision to tell yourself that you are important – boosting your self-worth and making your likelihood of emotionally overeating diminish
  • Exercise daily – even if this means a 10 minute walk in your lunch break.  Taking this exercise consistently will help
  • Connect with those around you – relationships can enrich your life and this positive impact will leave you feeling less stressed, less anxious, and more important – leaving you less likely to emotionally eat


Are you guilty of any of these 10 habits that could be making your cravings worse?

1 simple secret to retaining self-control..

If you are part of a company and would like to find out more about our healthy eating services please call 0845 533 5302.

If you are an individual and are interested in our 12 week online healthy eating programme you can find out more - here. When you're ready you can login to My Healthy Eating Programme using the login button at the top and entering the code VIP10 into the register now box. The cost of the 12 week programme for an individual is £49.99 and we have corporate rates available upon request.

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