With more employees working from home and potentially under a little more stress due to COVID-19 is may be a little easier to engage in emotional eating. Emotional eating is eating as a way to soothe or distract yourself when you feel stress, anger, fear, sadness or loneliness. It often leads to eating too much and reaching for foods that aren’t as good for us. Because the relief is temporary and we sometimes feel guilty for indulging, it can lead to a cycle of over-eating. When bingeing is not the problem, but boredom and distraction drive you to graze and snack to excess, eating more mindfully can help. 
5 questions to ask yourself.

  1. Are you eating quickly until past full or taking your time and stopping when your body says its full.
  2. Are you responding to an emotional craving or eating when your body tells you (i.e. growling stomach and low energy)?
  3. Are you eating at random places and times as opposed eating at set times and places.
  4. Are you mostly choosing foods that are emotionally comforting as opposed to including a balance of foods that are nutritious.
  5. Are you distracted eating or sitting to eat without multi-tasking or screens?

Breaking the Habit

  • Keep a food diary to uncover what triggers your emotional eating.
  • Eat more intentionally at set times without distractions.
  • Give cravings time to pass when you aren’t physically hungry. 
  • Substitute a healthier behaviour. Sip some water, take a walk or call a friend.
  • Reduce temptation. Don’t buy the snacks and if they are in the house, don’t put them where they are visible and easy to grab.
  • Pre-plan healthy snacks. Make fruit and veggies easy to grab.
  • Don’t deprive yourself. Banishing all treats is likely to backfire.
  • Learn from set backs and move forward. Interrupt guilty thoughts and focus on the positive changes you are making.

Eat a Mindful Meal
Take the time to smell the food, look at it and taste each bite. Chew slowly. Pay attention to everything you sense around you and as you eat. Pause and take a deep breath between bites. Pay attention to when you no longer feel hungry. If you are experiencing difficulties with Emotional Eating please contact your EAP Assist counsellor.