Yoga by the Sea

What To Do About Emotional Eating

There are figures out there describing who is a mild, moderate, or severe emotional eater but your doctor is the best person to diagnose you.

Even without a diagnosis, however, if you have to wonder you probably are. Also called stress eating, emotional eating is usually accompanied by a few digestive symptoms including persistent bloating, weight gain, daytime tiredness, foggy brain, and overthinking.

You can track your digestive symptoms and become mindful of your cue-reward loop throughout the entire digestive cycle, which starts the moment you have the thought of what to eat and up to several days later when that food is fully digested.

In addition to working with your doctor,

1. Join a support group

Accountability is the name of the game. By involving others in your goal, you will put more skin in the game and will be more likely to keep your word.

Besides helping you with accountability, groups can be a source of support.

The odds are that other members have had experiences similar to yours. Knowing this can help you feel less alone in your struggles. Groups and communities can be a source of all sorts of support that will keep you motivated.

2. Take the mindful approach

Mindful eating is a great technique to help you overcome emotional eating. There is also a way to mindfully observe yourself during your cue-reward loops that is both quick and effective. This technique can help you get to the root of your problems and cure them.

Observe yourself during your cue-reward loops:

  1. Observe what drew you to whatever you ended up eating.

  2. Was it a planned meal or snack break?

  3. What were you doing or feeling when you felt hungry?

  4. Did you feel satiated after eating?

  5. Did you have guilt related to what or how much you ate afterward?

First, you want to see yourself as a spectator, and next as a researcher. For a few days, do nothing but observe yourself within your loop. You don’t want to write anything down, make any judgments, or do anything but be an observer. Next, you want to take some notes. In research terms, you will be tracking data. Use a journal or food tracker to write down what you observe about a number of things you want to track.