How to Handle Negative Emotions Without Food

Oct 26, 2022

   Are you an emotional eater? Emotional eating is any eating you do when you're not hungry.  Do you eat so you don't have to feel your negative emotions such as stress, boredom, anger, sadness, or frustration?

     Eating certain foods - especially sweets and processed foods - makes your dopamine, the “feel good” hormone, spike. Those dopamine spikes make you feel temporarily better, while not really helping you to handle your feelings.   

     Because you feel better after you eat certain (usually, non-healthy) foods, it makes perfect sense to deal with your negative emotions by eating sweets and/or carbs which then can contribute to your weight gain. 

     Those dopamine spikes are powerful and reinforcing. I still sometimes eat instead of feeling those uncomfortable emotions. I’ve recently been under a lot of stress due to dealing with my elderly mother’s illness, and have sometimes grabbed crackers, cashews, or ice cream, rather than dealing with my feelings of anxiety and worry.  However, using the tools that I teach and have learned, I've usually been able to stop my emotional eating rather quickly.  


     Some ways to handle negative emotions without eating:

  1. Journaling.  Daily journaling, and doing  “thought downloads” by writing about whatever is bothering you, can help you to examine your feelings, instead of eating to numb them.   
  2. Taking some slow, deep breaths while paying attention to your breaths.  Putting your hand on your heart may also help to center you.
  3. Listening to calming music.
  4. Paying attention to what you feel in your body. Notice where in your body you feel your emotion.  Close your eyes and notice if that feeling has acolor, a shape, feels hard or soft, and if it is spreading or staying in one place.  Become very familiar with how that emotion feels in your body.  
  5. Doing some physical exercise.


     Also, notice the amount of time you actually feel your negative emotion. When you have an urge to eat instead of feeling an emotion, that negative feeling will usually go away fairly quickly. When you take some time to feel your emotions, you will learn that you can handle any emotion - without needing to eat to numb that emotion. 


     If you would like help handling your emotions without needing to eat, schedule a call with me at:  

     There is no pressure and no obligation. This could be the last time you ever need to lose weight.  I look forward to chatting with you! 



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