Emotional eating is a common phenomenon and it’s rarely a problem for most people. Sometimes you just can’t stop thinking about chips and soda, so you treat yourself and watch your favorite TV show while munching on some junk food. However, if stress eating happens too often or becomes the way you always deal with your emotions, then it’s a problem.
Here’s how you can stop stress eating.
Don’t give in to your cravings immediately, but take the time to think about the future and your long-term goals. According to a 2014 study published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology, thinking about your weight loss and health can snap you out of the moment and help you avoid making unhealthy food choices.
Focus on the Real Problem
Craving junk food is a typical sign of emotional hunger. So, if you catch yourself craving a specific, unhealthy food, ask yourself are you really hungry or is this feeling just a manifestation of stress and anxiety.
To stop stress eating, you first need to control your stress and anxiety. In a 2011 study published in the Journal of Obesity, obese women who learned how to manage stress and recognize hunger were less prone to stress eat than a control group.
There is no shame in occasionally enjoying a snack. If you feel like you really need a bowl of ice cream, you can let yourself enjoy it one in a while. But, take your time, relax, and appreciate the food. Save something for later and don’t overeat.
If you want to stop stress eating, you need to understand where it comes from. Realize you might have a problem that goes deeper than just craving for food and try to manage your anxiety levels as best as you can.