Sometimes it can feel impossible to put down your fork during a tasty meal. Unfortunately, compulsive eating can have negative effects on your health and life. It's unpleasant at the best of times, and it can be even worse in times of stress. Wondering how to curb compulsive eating for good? Try the following tips.
Ditch restrictive eating and enjoy food cravings moderately
Compulsive eating isn’t good, but you don’t have to survive on carrot sticks, either. Time and time again, studies have shown that restrictive eating leads to binge eating. Listen to your body and eat until you feel full. Eat a balanced diet, and you’ll feel much more in control than if you restrict your intake and end up overeating. Cravings aren’t anything to fear, either. If you want an occasional treat or sweet, build it into your routine and commit to eating one serving.
No matter what you’re eating, try to enjoy and savor each bite. Make time for meals, rather than just shoveling down a sandwich at your desk or eating as you walk. Eating this way will help you to appreciate your food, and you’ll feel more satisfied. Go out for meals with friends, or host a dinner party, to give food a little more purpose. Read more about OnPoint's guide to mindfulness here.
Manage your emotions and stress effectively
A big reason we overeat is heightened emotions. Learning how to effectively manage your emotions can do wonders. It can calm mood swings and difficult emotional states. Care for yourself, and talk to a friend or family member when you’re feeling down instead of turning to food. It’s important to manage your stress levels, too. Being in control during stressful moments will naturally lead to more control over your diet.
If you feel you need professional support, know that there’s no shame in seeking it. A professional will help you work through your feelings. They'll also help you to understand the reasons behind your compulsive eating.
Make use of the natural high from exercise
The endorphins released during exercise will help you to feel happy and focused. Channel these feelings, and you may find new motivation. This could help you break the pattern of compulsive eating.
Take note of your eating patterns
Keeping a food diary can be a real eye-opener. When you track your eating patterns, you’ll be able to better understand when and why you overeat. Knowing what's leading to binging is the first step in making a positive change. Noting what you eat will help you track your progress, too.
Change your environment
A change in environment may be exactly what you need to curtail bad habits. Consider eating in a different place than you usually do.
Studies have shown that a poor night’s sleep can often lead to overeating. Prioritize your sleep, and not only will you feel well-rested, but you’ll also be less likely to binge.
Does eating make you feel happy and calm? You’re not alone, but food isn’t the only way to elevate your mood. Consider things that have the same effect on you, and make an effort to focus on them. This might include activities like travelling or spending time with friends. It could also involve working on something creative. If you’re getting the same positive feelings elsewhere, you won’t need to eat compulsively.
Author’s bio: Cloe Matheson is a freelance writer based in Dunedin, New Zealand who has a knack for writing articles on health and wellness. Since starting her career, she's penned articles for various blogs, sites and local businesses, such as Harrows. Read more of her work here.