Originally Answered: How do you stop binging on food?
Sometimes the strongest longings for food happen when you're at your
weakest point emotionally. Many people turn to food for comfort —
consciously or unconsciously — when they're facing a difficult problem
or looking to keep themselves occupied.
But emotional eating — eating as a way to suppress or soothe negative
emotions, such as stress, anger, anxiety, boredom, sadness and
loneliness — can sabotage your weight-loss efforts. Often, emotional
eating leads to eating too much food, especially high-calorie, sweet,
salty and fatty foods.
The good news is that if you're prone to emotional eating, you can
take steps to regain control of your eating habits and get back on
track with your weight-loss goals.
Though strong emotions can trigger cravings for food, you can take
steps to control those cravings. To help stop emotional eating, try
Learn to recognize true hunger. Is your hunger physical or emotional?
If you ate just a few hours ago and don't have a rumbling stomach,
you're probably not really hungry. Give the craving a few minutes to
Know your triggers. For the next several days, write down what you
eat, how much you eat, when you eat, how you're feeling when you eat
and how hungry you are. Over time, you may see patterns emerge that
reveal negative eating patterns and triggers to avoid.
Look elsewhere for comfort. Instead of unwrapping a candy bar, take a
walk, treat yourself to a movie, listen to music, read or call a
friend. If you think that stress relating to a particular event is
nudging you toward the refrigerator, try talking to someone about it
to distract yourself. Plan enjoyable events for yourself.
Don't keep unhealthy foods around. Avoid having an abundance of
high-calorie comfort foods in the house. If you feel hungry or blue,
postpone the shopping trip for a few hours so that these feelings
don't influence your decisions at the store.
Snack healthy. If you feel the urge to eat between meals, choose a
low-fat, low-calorie food, such as fresh fruit, vegetables with
fat-free dip or unbuttered popcorn. Or test low-fat, lower calorie
versions of your favorite foods to see if they satisfy your craving.
Eat a balanced diet. If you're not getting enough calories to meet
your energy needs, you may be more likely to give in to emotional
eating. Try to eat at fairly regular times and don't skip breakfast.
Include foods from the basic groups in your meals. Emphasize whole
grains, vegetables and fruits, as well as low-fat dairy products and
lean protein sources. When you fill up on the basics, you're more
likely to feel fuller, longer.
Exercise regularly and get adequate rest. Your mood is more
manageable and your body can more effectively fight stress when it's
fit and well rested.
If you give in to emotional eating, forgive yourself and start fresh
the next day. Try to learn from the experience, and make a plan for
how you can prevent it in the future. Focus on the positive changes
you're making in your eating habits and give yourself credit for
making changes that ensure better health.