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Posted Aug 19 2009 6:26pm

WHY  do we over-eat?  In most cases, overeaters are emotional eaters. Doubt it?  Here’s a list of feelings.  If you’re overweight, think of how you respond to these:

- Anxious

- Sad

- Stressed

- Happy

- Afraid

- Bored

- Lonely

If you have a tendency to reach for the chocolate, the chips, or the ice cream to make you feel better, here are 3 techniques to STOP your emotional eating.

1 -  Talk to yourself  - Let the “Healthy You” (HU) and the “Emotional You” (EU) have a little conversation. 

         – HU :  “Oh-oh…You’re gonna hurt yourself.”

         – EU :  “But it’s gonna make me feel better.”

         – HU :  “Only for 10 seconds, then you’ll feel guilty.”

         – EU :  “I already feel guilty, so what’s the difference?”

         – HU :  “You will feel proud if you don’t go for the food, and it will help your health overall.”

Yes, there may be quite a bit of conversation going on in your head, at least in the beginning, and it may be strange.  But it’s a healthy process.

2 -  Find alternatives  to destructive eating.  No excuses.  If going for a walk is unsafe or going to the gym impractical, try putting on some music and dancing around the house, playing hide-and-seek with the kids, vacuuming the house top to bottom, running up and down the building’s staircase, or taking a vigorous walk through the shopping mall.  Physical activity is a “negative calories” activity and a natural “upper.”

3 -  Keep a “Foods & Feelings” journal. It’s one mindless thing to scarf down a couple of potato chips, then a few more, then the whole bag, but it’s quite an eye-opener to write:

* Trigger:  I feel bored

* Food response: Potato chips: 2+5+? = the whole bag = ? calories (too many to admit)

* End Feeling: sick in my stomach, heartburn, guilty, craving for more, still bored.

Emotional eating has many triggers.  Some may be recent, some may be from a lifetime of conditioned responses.  If talking to yourself leads nowhere, consider talking to a professional, either a registered dietitian (find one at  ) or a licensed psychologist or psychotherapist: they can help you unravel the tangles of your emotions. 

See my earlier post,  “Emotional Eating”  at:

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