Why do we do that? It can stem back to our childhood when we were given food as a 'treat' or 'reward' for doing well or to make us smile again if we had hurt ourselves. Many of us have been taught that food makes us feel better, when we're feeling down....
We can often carry mixed messages into adulthood about food and why we crave it..
Good food should always be a pleasure but importantly it is a functional fuel that we use to power our bodies so that they work properly. There is no getting away from that.
It gets a little blurred around the edges for any of us when the scales get tipped on the pleasure side, rather than the functional fuel side.
We can easily eat too many calories in an attempt to make us feel better, which then leads to us feeling bad about overeating and in turn leads us into a viscous cycle where we eat unnecessarily and make poor food choices again.
If you're serious about changing your eating habits so that you improve your health for the future, exercise may well be the key to balancing the 'feel good' chemicals in your brain. Even 30 minutes of exercise has been shown to do that - move your body and elevate your heart rate. Not only is the exercise likely to make you feel better in the short term, in the long term you'll feel positive about it and are therefore less likely to emotionally eat afterwards.
If you begin to listen to your body at times of stress, then that partnership between actions and needs works much better!!
Keep your trainers handy - go for a quick walk, run, cycle or whatever you can fit in. Even 20 mins doing that could stop you making a poor food choice.
Cry - if you're upset. Not so easy in the middle of your weekly food shop or at work but if you have a build up of stress or hormones, then it's sometimes the pressure valve that needs to be put into action. Find a time to if you need to. No heroes required.
Talk - call up a friend for a chat. Even better, see if they can get out for a walk with you.
If it was easy, we'd all walk away from the cake but it's not.
Emotional eating is something that many of us do at times, so if you do it, don't beat yourself up about it. Life is quite often too busy and we all have those moments but take the time to recognise it and next time try a different way of dealing with whatever caused it, so that you progress with your health goals and move forward.
Recognise the behaviour and move towards feeling better