Emotional eating can strike without notice. We may be coming home from an emotionally draining day; Or we may have had a rough few hours with our spouse or children and before you know it we are making our way to the kitchen for an emotional pick me up. If this sounds familiar, here are 5 Helpful Keys to Overcoming Emotional Eating:
1. Press Pause. One of the most powerful steps I have learned to take when preventing emotional eating is to take one simple action, which is to PAUSE. By this, I literally mean that I stop in my tracks and pause, and assess why I am going to look for something to eat. Am I truly hungry, or am I looking to soothe an emotion with a temporary pick-me-up? When I recognize I am seeking to eat emotionally, I turn around and go upstairs, or even leave the house, and get away from the kitchen. Often times this pause allows me a few moments to stop and process my emotions and deal with them in a healthier way. I turn on worship music, read my bible, journal, and pray scripture based prayers, which is a powerful way even Jesus defeated temptation. This has proven to be beneficial time and again, and it always leaves me feeling thankful that I didn’t choose food as my source of comfort.
2. Stay Filled Up. Many times when we are reaching for temporary satisfaction in physical things we are actually just starving for the things of God. Just as our bodies were made to be nourished and sustained with food, our spirit and soul was made to crave the things of God. As much as we try to fill this “need” for God with other things, we will always be left feeling empty unless we take time to spend in His presence each morning and meditate on His word and truth throughout the day. The best thing about spending time in His presence is that He renews us with His grace and strength each day; So if you do fall short of making healthy choices, just remember tomorrow is a brand new day!
3. Maintain Balance. Often times when we wait until the evening to eat the majority of our food, (and don’t eat enough during the morning/mid-day hours), our bodies can become overly hungry and exhausted at the end of the day. This can lead to overeating or even binge eating in the afternoon/evening; As it is much more difficult to gauge your hunger levels when you are overly hungry.
4. Be Mindful. When having a meal or snack, try to make it a point to sit down and really enjoy your food. So often when we are eating on the run we never truly feel satisfied because our bodies and minds were never mindful of the rest and enjoyment that should come with a meal time. I believe God created food to be enjoyed in it’s place (hey- He gave us tastebuds after all); And I also believe He wanted us to take a moment throughout our day to take that rest and fellowship that comes with meal times, which is why we have to eat three times a day. When we fail to do so, we often never feel physically satisfied the way we should after a good meal.
5. Have Go-To’s. Often times when I am feeling like I want to snack on something and I know I am not truly hungry, I have a few go-to’s that seem to curb my cravings and settle my appetite. Some of these go-to’s are air popcorn, a Dashing Dish one minute cake or baked good, or a piece of gum. Often times I find a having a drink helps as well because many times we mistake thirst for hunger. I like to have a hot drink such as decaf coffee or my craving crusher hot cocoa in the evening, or a cold sparkling water with a pack of Tru Lemon during the day. On that same note, I also prevent keeping foods in the house that are most tempting to me. Having a few healthy snack and beverage options in my mind has helped tremendously when my appetite is raging.