The weather’s getting cold, the holidays are approaching, and baked goods have literally taken over the break room at work. I’m certainly no nutritional expert. These are just some of my personal favorite ways to overcome emotional eating and binging, in no certain order!
- Go for a run. To a lot of people, this probably sounds like a joke. But it’s an effective way to get myself busy and when I’m done, there is NO way I’m indulging in the cake I was eyeballing earlier. If you’re not a runner, go outside for a 20 minute walk.
- Make some hot tea. I don’t know all the actual health benefits – something about black tea lowering stress and green tea boosting energy. Blah blah. All I know is that it’s hot, takes a while to drink, has flavor and satisfies my desire to “snack.” With basically no calories.
- Get on Pinterest. Not the food section! Look at the fitness & health, crafts and DIY, or whatever interests you. Sometimes I’ll get inspired to do a certain craft, workout routine, or something else that will keep me busy.
- Pray. Ask God for strength and wisdom. Obviously, we need food to fill our bodies because that’s how God created us. But when we’re turning to food for an emotional fix, or out of boredom, use that time to think about the greatness of God. He is all we need!
- Take a nap. It’s pretty hard to eat when you’re in a reduced state of consciousness.
- Cut up some raw veggies. I like snacking on broccoli, cucumbers, celery, cherry tomatoes and zucchini. Yeah, I’d much rather eat chips or cookies, but this way you’ll still get the satisfying crunch you’re looking for without the guilt.
- Serve someone else. Use this time to sit down and write some encouraging letters to a few people in your life. Offer to bring a meal to a busy family. Make a few phone calls. Refocus your mind onto others and the needs they have.
- Understand your hunger cues. I often have a hard time knowing if I’m legitimately hungry or if I’m turning to food for other reasons. I’ll ask myself if an apple sounds good to me right now. I like apples but I’d only eat them if I’m hungry. Choose a food that you don’t necessarily love or crave, but one that you’ll eat when you’re hungry. Because let’s be honest, there’s always room in my stomach for brownies.
I hope these tips will help you if you're struggling with emotional eating, food addiction or maybe just simple overeating. Eating too much or for the wrong reasons is a socially acceptable thing and people often overlook the fact they may have a problem. I've been to the point many times in my life when a piece of chocolate cake provides me more comfort than my relationship with God. If you want some resources to help you, check out Lysa TerKeurst's Made to Crave book. I'm praying for anyone who reads this and feels controlled by food.
Press on, friends!