When people are bored, lonely or stressed, one of the common tendencies they have is to head to the fridge and choose decadent foods to binge on. Binge eating distracts them from what they’re feeling. The problem is that after the binge, remorse follows. Very rarely do people feel good about eating too much in so little time.
Binge eating is a serious health issue in itself but it’s even more dangerous than other eating disorders because it can evolve into others, such as bulimia. So if you find yourself succumbing frequently to the tendency to eat when you’re emotional, seek professional help. It’s imperative to address the issue right away so it can be prevented from taking over your life.
If your episodes are not alarmingly frequent, there are different strategies you can try in order to regain control and salvage your health. One of the highly recommended ways to conquer the strong inclination to binge eat is to become more physically active. Signing up for fun fitness classes or sports lessons can prove to be a powerful diversion. They will not only take your mind off of your feelings, but they can also stimulate the production of endorphins (happy hormones) to make you feel better.
There are other helpful ways to help you avoid sabotaging your health with emotional eating. Seven of these are listed below.
1. Ditch the concept of “bad foods.”
Banning certain foods because they’re “bad” doesn’t help. You’ll just end up wanting more of that double-fudge cake or that big bag of spicy chips. The better approach is to control your intake of excessively rich foods. You can do this by planning your meals in advance so you’re prevented from cheating and going overboard.
2. Always wait out a craving.
Whenever you have a hankering for certain foods, do your best not to yield to the lure of the kitchen or your fridge right away. Wait 10 minutes or so and do something else. Watch a video on YouTube or tackle a chore. You may actually forget about the craving if you put it off for a while.
If the craving’s still present, though, you can indulge – but just a little. Measure the food that you’re dying to eat and put it on a nice plate or bowl. Make sure that you do not eat out of the container because that will be like opening Pandora’s box. Avoid the temptation to eat more than you should.
3. Eat more with your eyes.
Take a cue from the Japanese who spend a significant amount of time preparing small portions of food in a visually pleasing way. Learn to elevate your eating experience even if you’re eating alone. You’ll appreciate food more and savor every bite instead of just shoveling it down your throat.
Social media sharing sites offer an abundance of tips for preparing food nicely. Check them out and see which ideas you can apply to your own food preparation.
4. Keep your sneakers handy.
Use those sneakers to take you away from the fridge or the pantry in your office that offers free food to indulge the inclination to binge eat. Slip them on for an instant tour of your neighborhood or a hike somewhere. You can even try dancing to some favorite tunes since you already have workout shoes on. Doing any of these activities for at least 10 minutes can do wonders in dispelling your desire to eat your emotions away.
As mentioned earlier, getting active can prompt your body to produce more endorphins. These hormones can help regulate your emotions.
5. Line up events to take part in.
Strive to have work-life balance by opening yourself up to events that can introduce something new to your life. For example, watch a sporting event. Even the audiences of sporting events get a workout from all the excitement. Watching a game can take your mind off your usual stressors. Plus, you may get inspired to become healthier by the mere sight of the fit and high-performing bodies of the athletes.
Consider volunteering some of your time to help out your community as well. This is a fantastic use of your time and can prevent you from thinking too much about food or the concerns that are making you unsettled emotionally.
Another thing you can do is to create a to-do list for those days when you actually get a lot of time on your hands. Make sure that the list of tasks will make you truly productive, and that it doesn’t involve food.
The beauty of being busy lies in the fact that is you won’t have to deal with boredom that makes tackling that huge jar of peanut butter so easy.
6. Learn what true hunger feels like.
This is one tricky lesson to actually learn because most people tend to interpret every churn of the stomach as hunger. Nervousness can feel like hunger; same goes for thirst. A craving can “feel” like hunger, too. The confusion is quite real for many.
Try these strategies. To rule out thirst – drink a tall glass of water. If the urge to eat disappears, then you’re not dealing with hunger.
Meanwhile, to distinguish genuine hunger from craving, eat food that you’re not craving. If you’re not interested to eat anything more after that, then it’s hunger. But if you’re still thinking about that cheesecake sold at the bakeshop down the street, then it’s a craving.
7. Free your home from “trigger foods.”
Make it harder for you to access the foods that could bring on an episode of binge eating. Most of the time, if you still have to go to the grocer to get what you want to eat, you’ll feel it’s not worth the trouble. Instead, fill your pantry with food that’s actually good for you. If you’re really hungry, you’re not going to feel bad settling for a huge bowl of cauliflower and broccoli.
Everybody deals with emotional situations, but learn to take control. Hopefully, these tips can help you in managing the strong inclination to binge eat when life’s not as pleasant as you would like it to be.
A veteran c-level executive with more than 25 years of experience across multi-faceted industries including Leisure & Recreation, Barry Bremner joined Zayed Sports City as Director of Business & Corporate Services in 2009 and was appointed to General Manager in 2013. During his time with Zayed Sports City, he has developed and implemented new management systems as well as raised the profile of the organization by securing leading events to take place at Zayed Sports City, including: WWE, Monster Jam, the U-17 World Cup, FIFA Club World Cup and the Mubadala World Tennis Championship. During his tenure at the property, annual visitors to Zayed Sports City have increased from 420,000 in 2009 to 1.3m in 2016.