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Emotional Eating: How To Plan Through It

Many of us gravitate towards emotional eating which usually includes foods that comfort us during times of emotion. Knowing how to plan through it will be very helpful! There are many reasons that lead us to eat other than our hunger such as social gatherings, habitual snacking (that tub of popcorn during a movie), or a cold ice cream cone on a hot day.  There are more obvious emotional eating situations such as coping with stress or some other difficult emotion.

It is important to remember that several of these situations are encouraged! Eating is and should be a pleasurable activity.  Avoiding situations where food is involved is not really a very good solution. Instead, here are a few suggestions that can help you understand your emotional eating tendencies. Planning for these situations will get you through them without a big dent in your health.

Establish a Routine

Having a meal schedule you adhere to will make it easier to identify when you are eating for reasons outside of hunger and to avoid situations where you become overly hungry and more inclined to snack or binge.

Pay Attention to Your Feelings

If you find yourself eating outside of your meal schedule, now is a good time to ask yourself how you are feeling.  Are you stressed from your day?  Bored?  Lonely? Sad?  Take a look at what actually is going on and ask what would make you feel better during these times.  If the answer is food, it might make you feel better for a minute, but it won’t solve the root of your issue.  Perhaps calling a friend, going for a walk, journaling, meditating, or participate in something you enjoy would help you sort through the problem. Remember your emotional eating and not hungry nor do you need food.


It’s okay to eat the occasional treat.  In fact, if unhealthy food brings you joy, it’s encouraged to incorporate a portion-controlled serving on occasion.  Denying yourself completely is usually not the right decision (unless it’s gotten totally out of control, then you definitely should omit it!).

Practice Self-Compassion

You’re a human right?  Planning through emotional eating will take some to turn this into practice on a daily basis. If you find yourself eating an entire bag of chips in front of the television tonight, you have to forgive yourself then ask yourself what you could have done differently so that you are able to avoid this the next time.

Taking time to plan through your emotional eating will make a world of difference.  Just paying attention to your habits will bring them to light.

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