A lot of people realize that there are certain foods that cause them to eat too much, or even binge eat. But did you know that emotional triggers might be to blame for times when you overeat?
Keep reading to learn about ways to manage emotional triggers with the help of exposure therapy. That way, you will no longer find yourself giving in to unhealthy cravings, and binge eating as a result.
Emotional Triggers and Eating Problems
Foods give you pleasure, especially when they’re high in salt, sugar, and fat. That’s bcause they cause a spike in dopamine and serotonin, so you feel good temporarily after eating them.
Are you an emotional eater? According to Mayo Clinic, if you tend to turn to food to feel good when you are experiencing negative emotions, such as anger, boredom, sadness, fear, anxiety, loneliness, or stress, then you likely are an emotional eater with emotional triggers that need to be controlled.
First, Identify the Emotional Triggers That Lead to Overeating
First, you need to identify the foods and beverages, such as sweet treats, that give you pleasure when you’re feeling down. These are the foods that you crave before you overeat.
But, in addition to that, you need to identify the situations that cause you to feel the need to binge eat.
Here’s an example: if you realize that you overeat when you are stressed at work, then you know that you need to focus on managing your stress to overcome this trigger.
Next, Make a Plan
You know that you aren’t coping in a healthy way when you turn to food to feel better. So, after identifying your triggers and gaining a better understanding of what’s behind your binge eating, it’s time to make a plan.
Here’s another example: if you are really stressed at work, your plan might be to avoid buying unhealthy treats at the grocery store. That way, you won’t end up bringing any foods into your house to binge eat in the first place. In addition to that, you can look for an alternative method for relieving that stress, such as hitting the gym after work, so you don’t even need to turn to food anymore.
Another part of your plan might be to try exposure therapy, where you expose yourself to a trigger while telling yourself that you don’t need it because you’re only craving it for unhealthy and unnecessary reasons. Over time, this type of therapy might help you overcome the temptation of eating a treat when it’s in your environment.
Stick with It!
Your plan might not work right away. You might need to try again and again, but keep practicing and stay positive. Before you know it, you’ll learn how to avoid giving in to your triggers.