(HealthNewsDigest.com) – You know losing that extra weight would be good for your health. Your health care team talked with you about how obesity increases your risk of other health issues, such as heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and certain types of cancer. They even worked out a healthy eating plan, and you want to stick to it. And you do well for many days, but then something upsetting happens, and your first thought is food.
Emotional eating is eating to suppress or soothe negative emotions, such as stress, anger, fear, boredom, sadness and loneliness. Food also can be a distraction. If you’re worried about an upcoming event or stewing over a conflict, for instance, you may focus on eating comfort food instead of dealing with the painful situation.
Emotional eating often leads to eating too much, especially overeating foods that are sweet, fatty and high in calories. And this can sabotage your weight-loss efforts.
When negative emotions threaten to trigger emotional eating, try these nine tips to stay on track:
- Keep a food diary.
Write down what you eat, how much you eat, when you eat, how you’re feeling when you eat and how hungry you are. Over time, you might see patterns that reveal the connection between mood and food.
- Tame your stress.
If stress contributes to your emotional eating, try a stress management technique, such as yoga, meditation or deep breathing.
- Have a hunger reality check.
Is your hunger physical or emotional? If you ate just a few hours ago and don’t have a rumbling stomach, you’re probably not hungry. Give the craving time to pass.
- Get support.
You’re more likely to give in to emotional eating if you lack a good support network. Lean on family and friends, or consider joining a support group.