Eating is a normal part of life, but when it becomes a focus or obsession, it can occupy your mind. When eating begins to control you, it’s time for a change.

To stop emotional eating, use these 3 strategies:

  1. Identify the emotion associated with the urge to overeat. If you’ve learned to ignore your feelings, particularly negative ones like anger, this may be difficult. But emotions or feelings like fatigue, loneliness, insecurity, guilt, shame, jealousy and more can trigger overeating. Know your triggers and keep track of them.
  2. Feel those emotions and manage them without using food. Once you identify the feeling or trigger that leads to overeating, you must learn to express the feeling, not eat it away. Verbally express a feeling vs swallowing it. Ask yourself, is there some need behind the feeling? For example, do you feel a need to be loved, respected or approved? Get to the heart of it.
  3. Work through emotional pain, grieve it and allow God to transform it. To do this, you will need to substitute a new behavior for eating. Make a list. “I can do….” and have 20 different things you can do instead of eating. Each time, the temptation to eat is triggered by emotional issues, choose from your list. Allow the feeling to come, but don’t cover it with food. Feel it and manage it with a substitute behavior.

You can learn to respond to emotional difficulties without using food to numb or escape feelings. But you have to unlearn a learned way of coping. This takes time. You will be challenged every time you feel a strong emotion and need to break the habit of eating to escape the feeling. However, with practice, you can stop emotional eating.

 

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