Today, there are so many additional stressful external factors in addition to our triggers. When facing a difficult problem, feeling stressed or bored, it is easy to turn to food as a source of comfort. However, this can quickly go out of control, sabotaging your efforts to lose weight. So, how do you stop emotional eating and control the cravings for foods?
This article will provide helpful tips on spotting the triggers and steps you can take to prevent going down a negative spiral. Let’s get started.
What are the Emotional Eating Triggers?
Emotional eating is your response to feelings such as stress by resorting to high-carb/high-calorie/processed foods that retain low nutritional value. Like any other emotional symptoms, emotional eating is considered a result of many involving factors rather than one single cause.
However, the commonest reasons behind emotional eating are stress, boredom, and finding comfort in food.
Stopping Emotional Eating: the 5-D Method
In order to overcome emotional eating, you must teach yourself healthier ways of viewing food and develop a better mindset towards eating. Recognize and note the triggers that you have been common crook behind your deviation from the discipline.
If left unchecked for long, emotional overeating will lead to obesity, delay in achieving weight loss goals, and even food addiction.
Many of our dieters have found the following 5-D method amazingly helpful in preventing and controlling food cravings.
As a craving becomes more and more intense, it may feel like it will never go away. However, studies have shown that a craving usually lasts for approximately 25 to 30 minutes before it subsides.
So, before giving in to your craving, we suggest that you delay as long as you can. If 25 to 30 minutes appears too long, you can begin with short intervals (say, 5 minutes) and work your way up to 25 minutes or longer.
The more you practice this, the easier it becomes!
While delaying, you need to distract yourself with other non-food things that you enjoy!
Engage in something that brings an opposite feeling from the one that’s triggering you to eat for comfort. It could be reading a magazine or book, playing a video game, or calling a friend.
As you “delay” and “distract” yourself to prevent comfort eating, it is also good to stay away from any food source. This strategy is going to help reduce the chance of submitting to the craving and stop emotional eating.
If you have carried out all the 3 D’s and the craving is still intense, we suggest that you determine how eating will make you feel in the LONG TERM.
We understand that food can provide relief for about 20 minutes before you need another “dose.” Therefore, you need to ask yourself, “Is comfort eating in line with my weight loss goals?” Why is losing and managing weight so important to me? See if you can positively self-talk yourself to success.
If all the D’s above don’t help and you need to give in to your craving, decide on the following:
- How much will I eat? Am I going to consume the whole bag of chips or will I just have one serving?
- Where will I eat? Will I eat it in my car, pantry, standing up, etc.? Or will I consume it at a table and relish the experience?
- How fast will I eat? Will I stuff it in my mouth quickly or take my time to chew it, savoring each bite?
- What hand am I going to eat with? We recommend that you eat with your weaker hand (for instance, if you are left-handed, eat with your right hand and vice versa). This decision-making process will slow you down a bit and make you respond differently to your food craving instead of reacting to it with old habits.
We understand that it has become much more difficult to stay on track during the coronavirus pandemic. While staying or working from home, sudden food cravings can surge, and giving in to the temptations is easy. We hope the discussion helps you cope with the emotional eating triggers and maintain your ongoing program.