Even with all the nutrition knowledge in the world, your healthy eating can fall by the wayside when stress or boredom kick in, resulting in emotional eating. Responding to any emotion (even happiness) by overeating is an unhealthy habit. Fortunately, there are ways to ditch it.
Here’s how to stop emotional eating for good.
REACH FOR A CUPPA
Instead of downing sweets when you’re stressed, reach for a cup of green tea instead (bonus points for matcha!). Green tea contains the amino acid L-theanine which has been shown to boost dopamine levels and promote relaxation.
SLEEP IT OFF
A lack of sleep can leave you with a raging appetite and make you more likely to give into cravings. A poor night’s sleep negatively impacts appetite regulating hormones, heightens emotional stress, and increases impulsivity and food cravings. Implement a relaxing bedtime routine and ensure you get 7.5-8 hours of sleep a night.
Boredom is a diet killer. Having nothing to do can lead to unplanned snacking and even binging. Getting into the habit of boredom eating can also lead to emotional eating in response to other negative feelings like anger, anxiety, and depression. Beat boredom by breaking up your routine with non-food methods: reach out to a friend, go for a walk, read a book, or learn a new skill.
SEPARATE HUNGER FROM EMOTIONS
Learning the difference between eating as a response to hunger and as a response to emotions is vital in kicking emotional eating. Try to separate the two by eating mindfully and being aware of your hunger signals. Rate your hunger before eating – on a scale of 1-10, how hungry are you. Wait till you hit about five or six before reaching for a healthy snack or MACROS meal.
MAKE A PLAN
Eating regularly planned meals and snacks can prevent emotional eating if you stick to the schedule and avoid eating outside planned times. Aim for three main meals and one to two snacks per day (more or less depending on your training level and personal goals). Genuine hunger generally sets in three hours after your last meal, so base your meal and snack times around that concept.
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