If you want to see the most dire examples of stress eating, you need look no further than the 1980 classic, “Fatso.” Fatso documents the tale of Dominic DiNapoli, played by the late, great Dom DeLuise who is brought up by a mother who offers him comfort by feeding him whenever he becomes upset. To say Dominic grows up with a love of food would be an understatement.
If all this sounds like normal behavior to you, you may be looking to find alternatives to padlocking your refrigerator. Well, before you go to Home Depot, you may want to read further.
Emotional eating is usually used as a way to soothe or suppress negative emotions caused by anything from major life changes to the hassles of day to day life. They can include work, financial pressures, and relationship, and health problems among others. Eating can serve as a distraction to take the focus off a painful situation, or it a may be more of a reflexive response to strong emotions, resulting in an impulse binge, wolfing down food without enjoyment. However, whatever the cause of your emotional eating, it is almost never a satisfying solution, with emotions returning along with added guilt over your recent calorie intake.
Preventing Emotional Eating
1. Start keeping a food diary. Keep track of what you eat, how hungry you are, how much you eat, and how you feel after eating it. You will begin to see how your mood is connected with your food intake.
2. Lower stress. If stress is a big factor in your overeating, try to manage it with techniques like mediation, yoga, and deep breathing.
3. Check your hunger. If you ate recently, your hunger is probably more emotional than physical. if your stomach’s not rumbling, give yourself some time before eating to see if your craving passes.
4. Avoid temptation. If you don’t keep the ‘go to’ comfort foods in your house, you are less likely to need to padlock the fridge. Also, avoid emotional food shopping and save grocery store expeditions for less temperamental periods.
5. Try not to deprive yourself. If you limit your calories too severely, you may just increase your cravings. Try instead to make healthier choices, eating more satisfying portions of lower calorie foods, allowing for the occasional treat.
6. Prevent boredom. Overeating is often a side effect of lack of stimulation. Try to distract yourself with things besides food, like a book, a movie, or the computer.
Or, you can always distract yourself by writing to us! Tell us how your feeling and what you’re eating or trying not to eat. We love to hear it!