The first important thing you need to determine when dealing with emotional or comfort eating is whether you are physically or emotionally hungry.
Physical hunger is when our sugar levels are dipping due to poor food choices (high refined carbs) or lack of regular meals (skipping meals).
Usually, emotional eating is a sudden urge for a specific texture, taste or item; it is often triggered by a stressor, habit, social or childhood influence. It leaves us feeling guilty and over-full.
To assist dealing with emotional eating use the TAKE FIVE rule.
Take 5 minutes to step back and ask yourself
- Why do I want to comfort eat?
- What am I avoiding (emotion, stress, boredom)?
- Accept that you are allowed to have different emotions throughout the day – happiness, sadness, anger, frustration.
- Have a list of 5 of your favorite activities (e.g. scrapbooking, drawing, playing an instrument, exercise) available and choose one to do for 5 minutes.
- Decrease the impact of emotional eating by choosing lower calorie options (popcorn instead of crips; jelly sweets instead of chocolate)