If you’re an emotional eater, you may be feeling helpless and completely out of control. You may be fully aware that you ‘eat your feelings’, but don’t know how to stop. If you’re searching for help to manage overeating or binge eating, I have a simple strategy that I’ve found to be very effective – journaling.
Science has shown that journaling – verbalizing your feelings by writing them down - is very beneficial for emotional well-being. I have found journaling to be a very effective strategy for both myself and many of my clients to manage emotional eating. It’s as simple as putting pen to paper!
Consider these 4 reasons to start journaling for emotional eating:
1.It allows you to express and release your feelings
Writing down your strong emotions will help to release the intensity of those feelings. When you try to avoid strong emotions – such as sadness, anger or hurt - and try to push them away, they continue to come back and trigger emotional eating. By verbally expressing your feelings in writing, not only do you become aware of what you are feeling, but you can then release those emotions by acknowledging that they are there. When your feelings are validated, they don’t feel so intense and will ultimately, be released.
2.It helps you slow down and pause
If you’re an emotional eater, maybe you struggle with anxiety and constantly worry. You may have bottled up emotions about past experiences you haven’t fully dealt with. Regardless of if your triggers are past or future, the point is, you aren’t in the present. Journaling can be a way to take a pause in your day, and truly be present in the moment. What are you feeling right now? What stress are you experiencing? Take one minute to write down what you are feeling in that moment before you eat. By writing down these feelings, you are becoming more mindful and aware which is the first step in managing emotional eating.
3.It helps break your emotional eating habits
If you write down what you are feeling first, you may start to notice that your impulse to eat isn’t as strong. When you rely on journaling, you break the habit of turning to food automatically to deal with strong emotions and replace it with a healthier habit instead.
4.It improves self-care
Simply put, self-care is giving yourself what it needs for overall well-being whether it’s physical, mental and emotional. By writing out your feelings, you are giving yourself some personal time to express those feelings. By taking care of your emotions in this way, you are taking care of YOU, resulting in a greater sense of overall well-being.
If you’re willing to give journaling a try but don’t know how to start, remember that this is an individual practice. As long as you are expressing your emotions, there’s no right or wrong way to do this!
When you start writing down and expressing your feelings, you're on the right path to managing your emotional eating!