A grumbling belly isn’t the only thing that can lead us to the kitchen. When you’ve had a stressful day or are coping with negative emotions like sadness, anger, fear or even boredom, it can lead to a bout of emotional eating that slows down your weight loss in New Jersey with extra calories and a motivation hindered by the guilt that follows.
Emotional eating is a common issue among those trying to lose weight and can be a barrier between you and your goals. Fortunately, emotional eating is just a habit—and like the many bad habits you’re working hard to leave behind you during your medical weight loss program, emotional eating is a cycle that can be broken.
The first step in ending emotional eating is to recognize it. Emotional hunger differs from physical hunger in several key ways:
- It doesn’t wait. True hunger sets in gradually, giving you time to satisfy it. Emotional hunger can come on in an instant and will demand satisfaction right now.
- It isn’t open-minded. True hunger will be satisfied with a variety of different options. Emotional hunger will only be satisfied with the specific comfort food you crave.
- It won’t get full. True hunger will end when your stomach is full. Emotional hunger can make you eat past fullness.
When you recognize emotional hunger, there are many ways to prevent it from turning into a full-blown bout of emotional eating. Start by:
- Determining the cause. How do you feel and what made you feel that way? Specific situations and emotions may be more likely than others to cause you to eat emotionally—these are your “triggers,” and finding them can help you stop emotional eating in its tracks. If you’re having trouble pinpointing your triggers, it can help to keep a food diary that tracks your emotional state alongside your eating habits.
- Addressing the cause. Once you know what emotion has caused emotional hunger, find a proactive way to deal with it that doesn’t involve food. Feeling angry? Vent some aggression with a strenuous workout. Lonely or depressed? Call a trusted family member or friend. Bored? Throw yourself into an engaging hobby, movie or book. Try to come up with a healthy plan to deal with each trigger of your emotional eating.
Frequent bouts of emotional eating can make it hard to keep up progress with rapid weight loss in New Jersey, but there are many ways to overcome them during your program. What else has helped you put an end to emotional eating for weight loss in New Jersey? Share your strategies with us in the comments below!