Mental Tricks to Combat Emotional Eating

Good morning and happy hump day!
Today I wanted to share a tidbit of health information that pertains to my friend Karlye’s story. So often we link our weight woes to our diets and our workout regimens, which, sure, play a big part. But those of us who experience emotional eating know there’s a major mental component at work as well.

Those us who grew up overweight also know food as comfort, not just fuel, and have to change the tune in our minds that leads us to food to feel better. Otherwise, we fall victim to the slippery slope that goes stress-emotional eating-weight gain.

This mental/behavioral issue is why the more weight you’ve lost, the harder it is to keep it off. Not to mention, most weight loss programs focus on what we eat and when we eat it, not why we eat it.Did-you-know

The good news is that researchers recognize the difficulty once-overweight people have keeping weight off and are working to find mental tricks that empower us to overcome stress eating.

According to a study by Temple University, the key is managing the emotions behind eating. Temple researchers sought to develop a weight loss program that addressed emotional eating by helping people recognize the triggers that make them eat and “break that cycle of reaching for food every time they feel bored, or frustrated, or sad.” One technique mentioned in the study is the “conveyor belt.” I love this idea and had to share it!

When you feel overcome with a specific emotion, recognize it, take a step back, and before reaching for chips or cookies, put those feelings on a mental “conveyor belt” and watch them go away.

Conveyor Belt

A mental trick Karlye suggests is:

When you feel like you just don’t care and want to eat to feel better, tell yourself “your body cares.”

Thinking of her body as separate from her mind and her current emotional state has helped Karlye take a step back from eating, overeating, and eating the wrong things, and may help you too.

Of course, everyone is different and the mental trick that works for me may not work for you, but I think mental tricks in general are worth exploring.

Are you an emotional eater? 

What mental tricks to you use to combat emotional eating? 

Read more about this study on Science Daily or on Temple University’s Center for Obesity Research and Education (CORE) website.

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  1. SO true! I remember when I first lost my original 50lbs I thought immediately that an added cheat meal was ok (which it was, but that lead to multiple cheats…). Thinking I was 50lbs lighter meant that I could indulge more and then of course I slowly I packed a good amount of the weight back on.

    Posted 3.5.14 Reply