How To Deal With Emotional Eating?

Updated: Mar 1, 2019

All we ever wish for is safe, peaceful existence and maybe a little bit of happiness, and yet, our lives are full of uncertainty, break-ups, responsibilities, school, annoying people and work-related stress.

I know all about the latter from working at a Cancer Center, where stress and anxiety are practically the norm. Some days, you simply have to stuff your face with positive emotions to offset all of the negative.

By Friday I have to reward myself, like a dog, for coming in to work. So I go to a fancy coffee shop and indulge in a six-dollar mocha and a huge donut - a fancy one, with Hibiscus glaze and an actual flower on top. Delicious & pretty to look at breakfast and a much needed boost of morale that lasts until about 11 o'clock. Then what?

Emotional eating is something my colleagues also complain about a lot. Eating healthy can be difficult as is. But when we are faced with emotionally and mentally draining problems in our personal and work life, eating healthy becomes a thousand times more difficult.

Screw it... I deserve to have pizza for lunch! Or, as I sometimes tell myself when I am binging: "Big girls don't cry, they eat."

Of course, when we eat a donut for breakfast and pizza for lunch, we end up with excessive amount of calories, yet malnourished - in other terms sick and overweight.

So what do we do? The answer seemingly lies in plain sight: fix your anxiety and the need to eat fattening foods to drown your emotions will cease. If it were only so easy!

But that is truly the only real solution to the problem at the root level. Toxic people, haunted apartments and jobs that make us miserable have to be let go of. Meditation and yoga, done right, can also improve our mental and physical health.

However, there are a few other tricks that can help us stay away from junk.

1. Eat a good size portion of healthy & satisfying food.

Pick protein rich food you like that is also nutritious and healthy. Make sure to include grains, such as brown rice or quinoa, as well as starchy and non starchy veggies. Add beans for extra protein, guacamole or avocado for extra energy and other veggies. Make sure to have a variety in your diet. Stay away from fatty (cheese) and oily (fried) foods.

2. Ban unhealthy snacks from your kitchen.

I know that if I buy junk foods (for a movie night supposedly) I will eat them at the worst time (before going to bed) and at the worst amount (all of it). So I just stopped letting them into my kitchen.

3. Replace junk foods with healthier snack options. With junk foods banned, when I want to snack on something, I make an avocado sandwich (toasted rye bread, vegan mayo, avocado, tomato, spices) or a salad. That is actual food, containing nutrients, and I know that I'll wake up feeling much better the next day, than if I snack on junk. Other options include veggies with hummus dip, or celery dipped in peanut butter.

4. If I want something sweet, I try to go for fruit, especially banana, and/or a piece of dark chocolate. Apple dipped in peanut butter tastes surprisingly delish. I think that is way better than any candy bar or a cupcake, containing corn syrup and trans fats which are linked to various diseases.

If you have a few minutes, you can make "nice cream" with frozen bananas, mangoes (or other fruit), spirulina protein and plant milk, which is absolutely delicious plus nutritious.

5. Bring healthy snacks to work. Work environment with its birthday cakes, junk-food lovers and previously mentioned stress, can be devastating to our attempts to eat healthy. Again, try to surround yourself with healthier food options. Buy some fruit on the way to work and keep it in your cabinet, or bring already sliced apples, bananas and pre-washed berries or dried fruit. Buy a trail mix or any one kind of nuts you like. Keep some hummus or guac in the fridge (if you have one) and multigrain crackers or mini carrots.

If you have any other tips that worked for you, please share in the comments below! :)



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