The most common way that people try to “end emotional eating” (and btw, it’s very unlikely that you will ever “end” emotional eating entirely— even the most natural eaters in the world eat emotionally sometimes), is by attempting to replace emotional eating with another coping mechanism (e.g. “call a friend” or “take a warm bath” instead).
However, this “replacement” technique often backfires.
Why? Because most dieters (or newly ex-dieters) are out of practice in dealing with their feelings in other ways, and when dealing with stress or discomfort, usually want something easy andfamiliar. In other words, stressful situations are not often the most realistic time to take away your go-to coping mechanism.
Additionally, sitting on your hands trying not to eat over stuff (or beating yourself up for eating over stuff), often sends people into deprivation mindset, which often leads to rebellious binge-eating in the long run.
So what’s the solution?
Practice new coping mechanisms, without the unrealistic expectation of “not eating” right away.
That is, practice new coping mechanisms regardless of whether or not you also use food as a coping mechanism when things get hard.
This allows you to diversify your coping mechanisms and sharpen your self-care skills, without falling into diet-mentality around emotional eating or setting yourself up for failure when emotional eating feels like your best option.
When we get into the habit of taking care of ourselves in diverse ways, regardless of whether or not we also “use food,” food naturally become less and less of a “go-to” over time, because our reliance on food as our exclusive coping mechanism becomes less and less.
Today, commit to practicing new methods of self-care, and letting go of the guilt if emotional eating still pops up. A focus on adding new coping mechanisms, rather than subtracting, is more realistic, and less likely to lead to rebellion in the long run.
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