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Top 10 creative techniques to conquer emotional eating

We’ve all been there. A bad day at work, a fight with a loved one, a wave of loneliness – and suddenly, the fridge seems to beckon with the promise of comfort. Emotional eating i.e using food to cope with difficult emotions, is a common human habit. But while it might offer temporary solace, it can wreak havoc on our physical and mental health in the long run.

Busy professionals, juggling demanding schedules and personal pressures, are particularly susceptible to emotional eating. We understand that tight deadlines, overflowing inboxes and constant stress can leave you reaching for sugary or fatty foods for a quick emotional fix.

Signs that you are an emotional eater

Then, what to do?

 

Well, here are 10 out-of-the-box creative strategies to conquer emotional eating.

 

1. Food mood board

A food mood board is a creative way to visualise your relationship with food. It involves creating a collage of images, words and themes that represent your food-related goals and aspirations.

Create a healthy vision: Include images of nutritious foods, vibrant dishes, and healthy meal inspirations to encourage better eating habits.


Identify triggers: Add words or images that represent your emotional eating triggers, helping you stay aware and address them.

Set goals: Use the mood board to set specific food-related goals and remind yourself of your motivations.

2. Gamification of eating

Gamification adds an element of fun to eating, making it easier to stick to healthy habits.

Meal games: Set games like “eat five different colours in one meal” or “try a new healthy recipe every week.”

Point systems: Assign points for healthy eating behaviors, and reward yourself when you reach certain milestones.

Competition with friends: Engage in friendly competitions with friends or family to see who can make the healthiest choices.

3. Visualisation techniques

Visualisation is a powerful tool to reshape your mindset and reduce emotional eating.

Imagine your ideal self: Visualise yourself achieving your fitness goals, and consider how emotional eating might hinder this progress.

Picture healthier alternatives: When you feel the urge to emotionally eat, visualise a healthier alternative or a calming activity you can do instead.

Use guided imagery: Find guided visualisation exercises that help you focus on positive outcomes and reduce stress.

4. Colour psychology

Colour can influence your mood and behaviour, including your eating habits.

Colours to reduce appetite: Use calming colours in your environment to help you relax and reduce emotional stress. Use colours like blue or green in your kitchen or dining area, as they are known to reduce appetite.

Avoid stimulating colours: Avoid red and orange in eating areas, as they can increase hunger and lead to overeating.

5. Scent control

Scents can have a significant impact on your mood and cravings.

Use calming scents: Scents like lavender, chamomile, or sandalwood can help you relax and reduce stress-induced eating. Incorporate essential oils into your daily routine to create a calming atmosphere and reduce the urge to eat emotionally.

Avoid food scents: Keep strong food smells away from your living areas to reduce cravings and temptations.

6. Intermittent fasting

Intermittent fasting can help you establish structured eating patterns and reduce emotional eating.

Time-restricted eating: Set specific eating windows during the day to create discipline and avoid impulsive snacking.

Consistent fasting periods: Maintain consistent fasting periods to help your body adapt and reduce hunger swings.

Start slow: Begin with shorter fasting windows and gradually increase them as you become more comfortable.

7. Portion control

Portion control is a practical way to manage emotional eating and prevent overeating.

Use smaller plates and bowls: This simple change can reduce the amount of food you consume without feeling deprived.

Measure your food: Use measuring cups or food scales to ensure you’re eating appropriate portion sizes.

Pre-portion snacks: Divide snacks into individual portions to avoid mindless eating from large bags or containers.

8. Mini challenges

Mini challenges can motivate you to stay on track and avoid emotional eating.

Week-long challenges: Try a week-long challenge to eat a specific number of fruits and vegetables each day.

Try new recipes: Challenge yourself to cook a new healthy recipe every few days to keep things interesting.

Exercise challenges: Engage in daily exercise challenges to boost your mood and reduce stress-induced eating.

9. Distraction

Distraction techniques help you divert your attention away from food when you’re feeling emotionally vulnerable.

Physical activity: Engage in physical activities like walking, yoga, or stretching when you feel the urge to eat emotionally.

Creative outlets: Try painting, playing a musical instrument, or doing puzzles to keep your mind occupied.

Social interactions: Call a friend or family member, or join a virtual support group to distract yourself from emotional eating.

10. Reward

Rewarding yourself for positive behaviour can help reinforce healthier habits.

Non-food rewards: Treat yourself to something enjoyable, like a new book, a massage, or a day trip, instead of using food as a reward. Choose rewards that align with your interests and fitness goals to keep you motivated.

Celebrate milestones: Acknowledge your achievements in conquering emotional eating and reward yourself accordingly.


Emotional eating isn’t about deprivation or restriction. It’s about developing a healthy and sustainable relationship with food. By making conscious choices, prioritising self-care, and addressing the underlying emotional triggers, busy professionals can conquer emotional eating and achieve a sense of well-being that extends far beyond the dinner plate. Remember, you deserve to feel good, not just after a meal, but throughout your day. With dedication and these strategies, you can take control of your emotional well-being and build a healthier, happier you.

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