Emotional eating means consuming large quantities of food, mainly junk foods, in order to suppress an emotion. It is estimated that nearly 75% of overeating is caused by emotions. Many of us have the idea that food consumption can give us temporary relief from the emotional distress that we go through. As a result, most of us start using consumption of food as an escape from the emotional burden. Emotional conditions like loneliness, frustration, boredom, depression, anxiety and stress or any kind of emotional problem due to interpersonal relationships and low self-esteem often result in eating disorders and weight gain.

The first and foremost way to curb your eating disorder is to know what triggers your eating. If you can identify the reason, then you can easily find other ways to manage your emotional problems and regulate the intake of food.

How to identify eating triggers?

Emotions and situations that trigger our eating fall into five categories:

- Emotional: Eating in order to suppress boredom, tension, stress, fatigue, anger, depression or loneliness.
- Physiological: Excessive eating also takes place due to physical cues. You may experience increased hunger due to skipping of meals, to treat headaches or pain.
- Situational: You may tend to overeat because the opportunity is there to eat. Eating is also associated with going to movies, watching TV and other activities.
- Social: Eating due to encouragement from others or feeling uncomfortable in social situations.
- Thoughts: Indulging in excessive eating due to negative self-worth or as a form of self-punishment.

How can you break yourself from the habit?

The first thing you need to do is to identify what triggers you to overeat. But this alone cannot help you change your eating behavior. You also need to break the habit of excessive eating caused by emotional distress or uncomfortable situations. To do this, you need to develop alternatives to eating. Whenever you feel like eating as a means of coping, you choose other activities: like reading a book or magazine, do deep breathing exercises, go for a long walk or jog, talk to a friend, play cards or do housework.

There are times when simple distractions alone will not do any good. If you feel that the alternatives are not effective enough to suppress emotional distress then you may have to try a more powerful method like meditation, relaxation exercises, hypnotherapy or counseling. These methods help you to detect the emotional problems and teach you how to cope with them in healthy and effective ways. As you successfully incorporate the coping strategies in dealing with your eating disorders, reward yourself with a massage or any other self-loving activity. This will motivate you to carry on with your goals.

Author's Bio: 

Alicia D. Cramer C.Ht. is the author of Losing Weight Through Hypnosis and the developer of a hypnotherapy based weight loss program. She owns Wausau Hypnotherapy which is based out of Wausau, Wisconsin and works with clients throughout the USA. Her unique approach to healing and transformation includes specialization in Hypnotherapy, EFT, Energy Work, and Success Coaching. You can learn more about her services at www.wausauhypnotherapy.com.