How to Avoid Emotional Eating

I am excited to introduce another guest blogger to you today. Hannah is studying to become a Registered Dietician, and she has wonderful tips for healthy eating and maintaining a healthy lifestyle on her blog, The Wholey Trinity.
Check out her blog for some yummy recipes too!
She wrote a wonderful article about emotional eating below, and I hope you enjoy her wise words!


Hannah is a current Master’s student studying health communications and dietetic intern on her way to becoming a Registered Dietitian. On her blog, The Wholey Trinity, she writes with a holistic approach to living a healthy life.

From a very young age, we begin to associate food with emotions. Cake is for celebrating, Friday night pizza is for letting loose after a long week, and Ben & Jerry’s is for watching Bridget Jones and sobbing our eyes out after a hard break up.

Bottom line: emotional eating is something that is we all go through! We all like to indulge a little after we get that promotion or bust out the brownie mix when it’s been one of those day. However, it is when emotional eating begins to happen more frequently that it becomes an issue.

As our lives are becoming more and more stressful, emotional eating is also becoming more common. With us being smack-dab in the most stressful time of the year (the Holidays), this is the perfect time to discuss ways to overcome emotional eating!

Here are six ways to fight emotional eating:

1. Recognize It
As with overcoming any issue, the first step is realizing it exists. The next time you find yourself searching the pantry for a snack, do a self-check. Are you really hungry, or are you just really stressed?

2. Drink Water
There are those times when we just start craving food. However, our brain may be misinterpreting this as a craving for food when it is actually craving hydration. If you feel a craving coming on, drink a glass of water first. If that doesn’t hush the craving, then reach for a nutritious snack like fruit or nuts.

3. Find Warmth
Notice how many popular comfort foods are hot? This is because warmth brings us comfort and relaxation during times of stress. So when you are feeling razzled, find something that is warm and soothing (other than food). For me, that is a cup of tea, or just wrapping up in a big, fuzzy blanket.

4. Make Healthier Comfort Foods
If you just get home from work and really want something soothing and quick for dinner, try making a healthier version of a popular comfort food. This can be as simple as adding broccoli to mac and cheese. Or put that Pinterest obsession to good use a do a search for “healthy comfort foods!”

5. Tell Yourself It Is O.K.
We can be so incredibly hard on ourselves and unforgiving of our faults! Believe me, I am my own worst critic and I magnify EVERY mistake I make. But we have to tell ourselves, “it is O.K!” It is O.K. to feel cravings, it is O.K. to feel stressed, it is O.K. to feel negative and frustrated. Once you tell yourself it is alright to feel these uncomfortable emotions, you can then begin to move past them and allow the cravings that come along with them to subside.

6. Use Essential Oils
Essential oils such as lavender, sandalwood, and bergamot help soothe and relax, so they are great for helping manage emotional eating. To use, simply apply one drop of any of the oils mentioned to the palm of your hand, rub your hands together, cup over your nose, and take a few deep breaths. You can also add the oils to an air diffuser or to a soothing hot bath (remember number 3!)

For more insight on emotional eating, check out this awesome two-part post by RD Torey Jones Armul, who specializes in stress and emotional eating. Also, if you want to know more about your own emotional eating habits, you can take this 25 minute self assessment from Psychology Today.

If you feel that you or someone you know are showing extreme signs of emotional or binge eating, I strongly recommend seeking medical advice, for it may be disordered eating or a more serious eating disorder. Disordered eating and eating disorders can cause serious help risks and are often left diagnosed. For more information, please visit the National Eating Disorder Association.

Labels: ,