“The key to losing weight and keeping it off is to understand the role unresolved emotions from past events play in your health,” Dr. Nelson says. If you use food as a way to deal with stress and anxiety, here are some steps you can take to overcome emotional eating:
- Find Your Triggers: Spend some time thinking about events in your past that make you sad or anxious. “Realize what is going on in your own mind that is triggering you to want to do the emotional eating. That is half the battle.”
- Journal Foods & Feelings: Write down not only what you are eating but also what you are thinking and feeling at the time. What was the underlying emotion that prompted you to eat that entire bowl of chips or carton of ice cream? Understanding the relationship is key to breaking bad habits.
- Develop a Strategy: Create a plan for how you will respond the next time you are tempted to overeat. One simple method Dr. Nelson suggests: Wear a rubber band around your wrist and when you feel the urge to eat what you know you shouldn’t, snap it against your wrist to help you “snap out of” the underlying emotion that’s driving you to eat.
- Exercise Daily: Too busy to work out? No excuses! “Find a way to work exercise into your daily chores. Challenge yourself to get the whole house cleaned in half the normal time, and you’ll work up a sweat with all the scrubbing and running from room to room.”
- Talk More, Eat Less! Here’s a neat little trick Dr. Nelson recommends: When you go out to eat with friends, come prepared with stories to tell so you talk more. As a result, you’ll inevitably eat more slowly. Eat your salad first so you fill up on live food instead of the sugary and fattening stuff. Remember your body’s needs and respect them.