Fear is the one of the top three root causes of emotional eating that I see in people who struggle with it.
By root cause, I mean that it's the reason behind the emotions triggering the urge to emotionally eat.
For example, you're stressed and anxious about something, but the reason you are is fear-based.
Eating in order to get relief from those emotions can be tempting.
But any relief you get from eating is temporary, and only leads you down a road of overeating, or eating junk, and either gaining more weight, or gaining your weight back.
So how can you manage your emotional eating without turning to food?
Here are four tips to help.
1. Make a list of activities that always uplift you, and turn to those instead of food.
These can be anything that works for YOU.
A relaxing epsom salt or essential oil bubble bath, calling a friend who always makes you laugh, journaling, walking your dog – there's no wrong answer with this one.
All that matters is that whatever it is brings YOU joy. Flooding your body with uplifting emotions is a proven and powerful way to tip the scales away from fear.
2. Channel your emotions into something productive.
Instead of inhaling everything in the fridge, use that pent-up energy to do something productive.
Clean up some clutter that's been lying around for years. You don't have to take care of it ALL, but dive into it so you have something else to focus on.
Clear the “fat clothes” out of your closet.
Tend to your garden.
If it's summer, what are some outdoor chores you can do? Does your house need a fresh coat of paint?
There's a TON of stuff you can do to be productive and take your mind off what's bothering you.
3. Practice gratitude.
Gratitude's one of those emotions that can wash uncomfortable or scary stuff away.
Write down some things you're grateful for right now, in this moment. It can be absolutely anything.
Write down as many as you want.
If it works just as well for you to think of what you're grateful for, or even say it aloud, that's totally fine, too. The point is to flood you with the feeling of gratitude, because it's very soothing.
4. Control your breathing.
Hey, don't underestimate the power of controlled breathing!
When we're stressed, we often hold our breaths.
When we're scared, our heart races and we may breathe faster than normal.
Focus on your breathing, and on taking long, slow breaths. Close your eyes and relax somewhere for a few minutes if that helps.
Bottom line: Being scared is a part of life. If you turn to food every freaking time you feel scared, you'll either end up (or stay) fat and sick, or you won't have any healthy coping strategies for when food's not readily available.
Start with the tips in this post. They're proven to help when you actually do them!