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Ashley Palmer is a Registered Nurse and holds a Masters degree in Human nutrition. She is the owner and founder of Youtrition®, a diet free, guilt free approach to lasting weight loss. Find her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
5 Steps to Stop Emotional Eating
by Ashley Palmer
Emotional eating can be frustrating if you are trying to improve your health. Even if you’ve worked hard to make good habit changes, emotional eating can cause you to reach for a carton of ice cream after a bad day and undo the progress you’ve made.
Emotional eating is one form of non-hunger eating, meaning it is triggered by something other than physiological hunger. For some people, emotional eating is a rare occurrence, only happening when a loved one falls ill or an incredibly stressful life event happens, while others may have developed a habit of daily emotional eating.
The danger in this is obvious on the surface: if we eat when our body has no true need for calories, it stores those extra calories (mostly in the form of body fat) for later use. But there can be danger beyond this: using food to calm emotions can become an unhealthy coping mechanism when underlying issues desperately need addressing.
Prior to receiving my Master’s degree in Nutrition and opening my own nutrition counseling practice, I worked as a Trauma Nurse in a large regional hospital. It was then that I learned, first hand, just how damaging emotional eating could be.
Although I was actively seeking positive change in my life and attempting to lose weight, I found that the stressful days at work made it all but impossible to stay away from large quantities of comfort food. Despite my desire to use food to make me feel better, it actually made me feel worse––uncomfortable, lethargic, sick, and guilty.
Over time I learned some incredibly useful strategies to help me overcome these tendencies. Years later, as a nutrition counselor, I continue to use many of these strategies successfully with my clients.
I’ve found that while each person finds one or two of these strategies to be the most beneficial, they still get the greatest benefit from using and implementing them in the order provided. So here they are, my top five tips for combatting emotional eating:
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