People love to eat. All over the world, friends and families use food to socialize, celebrate, grieve and more. Eating is done routinely, similar to breathing, walking and blinking. Because of that, people can turn to food in order to satisfy emotional voids. Instead of dealing with their emotions head on, people use food to address their feelings.
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Make no mistake; anyone can be an emotional eater. A whopping 82 percent of people have turned to food in times of crisis, joy, anger or sadness. Given that fact, what can one do in order to deal with their emotions in a healthier way? How can one create a diet based on what their body needs instead of their mood?
To get rid of poor eating habits and to create a healthy plan requires you to first acknowledge and admit you're an emotional eater. The next step is to consider why you eat when you're emotional and which emotions cause you to eat when you're not hungry.
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A food journal is a great way to track of your moods and record how you feel when you eat. If you're not hungry, but you find yourself reaching for food, stop and ask yourself what emotions you are feeling in that exact moment. Then, record your emotion in your food journal, along with the type of food you ate, and date and time that you ate it.
Over the course of a month, you will see not only why you're eating, but what types of food you turn to.
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Stress and Anger
Two big emotions that can lead to emotional eating are stress and anger. Both can cause elevated heart rate and blood pressure. Instead of turning to food to deal with your emotions, try some constructive ways to let off steam to reduce stress and anger.
- Remove yourself from the source of your anger or stress and go for a walk. During that time, figure out what's the best way for you to handle stress. If you need to address it head on, make a plan to do so that doesn't cause more stress or anxiety for you. If you decide you don't need to address it, give yourself permission to let it go and move on.
- Focus on your breathing. Deep breathing is an excellent natural tool to release stress and lower your blood pressure.
- Start to exercise. Not only will exercise distract you from what's bothering you, but there are many forms of exercise that give you a reason to take out some aggression in a positive way. Slam a medicine ball on the ground or push a heavy weight around—use your anger to make you stronger.
- Get out your iPod. Play your favorite music, chill out with it, or dance around. Create a playlist of songs that make you happy.
- Plan ahead. If you keep encountering the same scenario that stresses you out, take steps to manage that situation. If it's busy mornings that throw you off balance for the rest of the day, than plan ahead. Organize what you need in the mornings the night before. This will help start your day off on the right track.
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