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Eating when bored? Comfort eating? Gain control of your emotional eating now!

Updated: Nov 22, 2023

Emotional eating, stress eating, boredom eating…we have all been there. Often this derails our goals. I am here at your service to hopefully provide a few tips to enable you to create positive habits and avoid falling into the trap of snacking not out of hunger but out of what is ultimately dissatisfaction in other areas of life.

It goes without saying that the best way to combat emotional/comfort/stress eating is to TAME THE STRESS AT ITS ROOT CAUSE! What is leading you to ‘comfort’ eat? Do you hate your job so you’re coming home and eating ALL the food in a bid to make you feel better? Have the kids been driving you nuts all day so you’re taking comfort in a share bag of Maltesers as soon as they go up to bed? Are you struggling with menopause symptoms? It’s really important that we first and foremost recognise WHY we are having trouble with these behaviours and begin to take steps to fix the issue at the route cause. And if your coach isn't help you with that, then you are with the wrong coach.

I can assure you that it may make you feel better for approximately 5 minutes…probably even less, once the taste has gone, the problem will still be there, you’ll still have to go to work tomorrow, the kids will be their usual selves the next day and the cycle starts all over again, just you have the added inconvenience of feeling like crap because you are also derailing your goals as well as the other issues!

Perhaps it might pay to keep a food diary over a short time? This way you might be able to notice a pattern of times of high stress, notice where you most suffer from tiredness or emotional events and when and where this leads to such unnecessary snacking. We can then work to become armed with tactics to try to prevent emotional eating sabotaging your healthy lifestyle.

Something we work on a lot with my team is implementing what we call the 30 second rule (not very inventive I know…any suggestions for a catchier name welcome?!). Every time you get a snack out or even think of getting a snack out, stop yourself for just 30 seconds. Instead of mindlessly eating, take that half a minute and ask yourself ‘why am I eating this just now? Am I truly hungry? Am I due a snack? When is my next meal coming? Am I actually just tired/stressed or unhappy? If so, can I find another way to help that feeling to subside?’ I promise you that small break and just being slightly more mindful can make the world of difference…try it!

Find something to do to replace the eating behaviour – if it can be put down to emotional eating then find something else that you enjoy doing instead, it could be reading a book, going for a walk, calling a friend, knitting, dancing…anything you like! Bets on that as soon as you get stuck into something else you will forget all about the food.

Use that food diary we spoke about earlier to recognise your ‘go to’ comfort foods. Once you have done this we need to set up your environment so that these ‘triggers’ aren’t readily available to you – don’t buy them at the shops, put them out of sight all boxed up in the back of the kitchen cupboards. Have some more ‘optimal’ snacks, ones that are more favourable to your goals at hand for when it is true hunger that strikes. I can assure you that if you have to travel to the shops and take an extra half an hour out of your day as opposed to popping two minutes to the next room for your snack, you are far more likely to think twice.

Play the long game!! Remind yourself of your ‘why’. Why did you start this journey? Unnecessarily eating your feelings is NOT going to help with the route cause, comfort eating OCCASIONALLY is okay, but you must find other ‘coping mechanisms’ while dealing with the cause of the issue at its very core.

As always, coaching here to help you if you would like further help in your nutrition and lifestyle.

Peace and love for the weeeeeeekend! A x

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