In this article:
- The causes of Emotional Eating
- Which triggers trigger your frustration?
- 4 tips for stopping emotional eating
- More attentiveness when eating
In case of stress, frustration or boredom you automatically reach for a chocolate bar or stuff yourself with fast food? Many people also try to compensate for negative feelings, such as fear or insecurity, by eating. But this has nothing to do with “real” hunger. Frustrated people think that they feel better if they eat certain foods. The sad truth is that they feel worse because they have tried to satisfy their “emotional hunger”.
Is it real hunger or just appetite?
After the binge, a guilty conscience often follows, because if you let your emotions guide you while you eat, you often only realize afterwards what and above all how many calories you have just shovelled in.
Are you really hungry or do you just want to satisfy an emotional need? © Anastasiia Fedorova / Shutterstock.com
Identifying the causes of frustration
To prevent your emotional eating behaviour from constantly gaining the upper hand, you must learn to interpret your body signals correctly and observe yourself very carefully while eating. Ask yourself the following questions:
- In which situations do you tend to be particularly frustrated?
- What triggers the desire for food?
- What actual need do you try to satisfy by eating?
Become aware of your emotional eating behaviour
If you don’t know that you have a problem, there’s nothing you can do about it. So first of all you have to become aware of when you eat out of frustration (or other reasons). A diet diary can be a great help in this. Record all meals and drinks, including the time of day, preferably immediately after eating. Also note how you felt when you ate and why you ate.
When you are on the road, write everything down on a piece of paper or on your mobile phone and transfer it to the plan in the evening – a simple table on the PC is enough. Apps, such as MyFitnessPal, are also helpful or you can use the free nutrition diary from our partner website Fddb.
DAS is behind your ravenous attacks
Which triggers trigger the overeating attack?
A so-called trigger is a kind of (emotional) trigger for a certain action. Imagine that someone presses a “button” on you and thus activates a very specific (eating) behaviour. Not only feelings, but also places, people and events can trigger you and tempt you to eat in frustration. Here are a few examples that you should read through carefully and evaluate for yourself.
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- Stress (private / work)
- Overload / overload
- Relationship problems / conflict
- Anger / Aggression
- Loneliness / feeling of worthlessness
However, triggers do not necessarily have to be negative, because positive events such as holidays, a visit to a restaurant or good weather also tempt many people to eat more. Perhaps the smell (or just the sight) of food alone will trigger the ravenous appetite. Or you always eat a lot while watching TV or at a certain time of the day.
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Make a note of which triggers “work” for you and consider whether there are other individual triggers in your case, such as the mother or mother-in-law, a colleague, a specific task at work, etc.
Write down all your meals and snacks in a diet diary, so you can quickly find out the reason for your eating disorder © A. and I. Kruk / Shutterstock.com
Stopping Frustration: How to stop Emotional Eating
Once you have identified your triggers, try to eliminate the triggers for frustration as much as possible or change your perspective. Even small tricks can help to improve your self-control while eating and thus prevent ravenous eating attacks. Here are the best anti-fat eating tips:
1. do not let yourself be stressed
Many people process stress with food. Especially people who otherwise have little self-control eat more in stressful situations. Stress can therefore be a triggering factor that throws one’s own control over eating behaviour overboard.
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Don’t just swallow your anger, but channel it: exercise and sport are the best catalysts, relaxation techniques such as autogenic training or meditation also help. However, if stress is compensated for with food, often only behavioural therapy can help to identify the sources of stress and eradicate them in the long term.
2. clean out
You got a whole bunch of unhealthy stuff in your refrigerator? Out with it – and don’t buy it again! © g-stockstudio
A simple way to prevent frustration is the following: Whoever eats in the office or at home out of boredom, excessive demands, stress or the like, mucked out cupboards and drawers. Because: What is not there, you can not eat. Fill the office drawer and your pantry with healthy snacks such as pistachios or dried fruit. Candy bars, jelly babies and the like will fly out.
In addition, links, like eating chips while watching TV, should be solved. Why don’t you eat an apple instead of chips? Even better: to detach the eating stimulus completely from the television. Treat yourself to a few chips after eating, this reduces the risk of eating the whole bag empty later.
3. avoid strict rules
Stop forbidding yourself certain things. Because no matter whether you wanted it before or not: The mere fact that it is forbidden now makes your thoughts revolve around it almost continuously.
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The solution: Allow yourself 2 Cheat Meals per week. So allow yourself to eat a greasy burger one evening a week and on another day treat yourself to a certain candy. If the “all or nothing” thinking has disappeared from your mind, this is the first step towards healthy eating. As with sports, however, a lot of training is required before everything runs smoothly.
Allow yourself one or two sins per week © Bogdan Sonjachnyj / Shutterstock.com
4. listen to your gut feeling when you eat
Small children and infants can still: eat intuitively. Unfortunately, we forget this in time, because with prohibitions and strict rules we confuse body and psyche.
The key word is quite simple: Develop more mindfulness when eating and listen more often.
How to make your diet more minimalistic
But often it is the small opportunities that upset the normal plan. For example a colleague who brings cake to the office. It is important to realize in such a situation that you don’t necessarily have to eat something just because it is there. In this way you avoid the headless (and often excessive) occasional meal and start listening to your body and its needs again. Only in a natural way and not in such a way that all dams break.
Intuitive eating is inborn in us, but we gradually lose the ability to
From frustration-eater to mindful eater
It’s perfectly normal – and human – for you to reach for a piece of chocolate on a hectic office day or to console yourself with ice cream when you have a lovesickness. It only becomes a problem when you comfort yourself with food more and more often and regularly eat so much that you have a guilty conscience afterwards. Try to get to the bottom of the reason for the emotional eating. A psychotherapist can help you with the search for evidence.