Your day has been long. It seems like the morning started out with stress that you carried with you right into your work day, where nothing went well. Dragging yourself home after work, you pick up dinner from a drive thru then find yourself sitting on the couch, eating a bag of chips, a handful of cookies, and maybe some popcorn or ice cream later on. You aren’t hungry, but you can’t seem to feel full or satisfied. At bedtime, you feel sick, exhausted, and no better than you did when you got home. it’s eating based on your emotions rather than your needs.
So here are some examples of healthier ways to cope with emotional triggers:
1. Stress. Instead of eating, try some kind of exercise, such as pushups, walking, jogging, weights, or yoga. Try deep breathing or meditating for 2 minutes. Try massaging your shoulders. Drink water.
2. Boredom. Many people eat when they’re bored. What are some healthy ways to deal with boredom instead? Go for a walk. Find a comfy spot and read a novel. Find friends to play sports with or go for a hike with. Learn to garden or bake. Make tea. Write. Journal. Do yoga. Listen to music.
3. Reward. Did you put in a hard day’s work? Did you accomplish something great? Did you finish that report or paper or chapter or project? Did you make a big sale? Time to reward yourself with food! Woohoo! Except that there are other ways to reward yourself: Take a nap. Get a massage. Take a bath. Have tea. Allow yourself some down time.
4. Comfort – sadness, depression, loneliness. We often use food as a way to comfort ourselves, often a habit stemming from childhood. What are other ways to comfort yourself? Find a friend or loved one to comfort you or give you a hug. Again, tea can be a good choice. Snuggle with a pet. Do yoga or meditate. Call someone. Take a walk in nature. Watch a sunset. Light scented candles and take a bath.
5. Social. Often we eat as a way to socialize, or because other people we’re socializing are eating. Learn other ways to socialize instead: go for a hike, play sports, make healthy food with friends, play music or make art together, or have a wholesome healthy meal instead of unhealthy foods.