Advertisement

What's a practical way to avoid emotional eating?

Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine
Clearly, some of us eat for physical reasons (we're just plain ole hungry) and some of us gnaw on leftover Halloween candy for emotional reasons (we're steamed at the boss about having to start and finish a new report by 10 a.m. and it's 9:47). But sometimes, it's not always easy to figure out the difference.

To help, throughout the day, record your level of hunger as judged by the scale below. Stay in tune to what your stomach is telling you—not what's happening outside with stresses (kids going crazy), emotions (spouse is working late again), or habits (Leno equals bowl of Trix). This process will help you really feel your hunger—so that you can let you stomach, not your emotions, dictate your habits.
  • 0 Tank=Starving. It feels like you haven't eaten since junior year of high school.
  • ½ Tank=Hungry. You're ok, not desperate, like maybe when you're driving home from work.
  • 3/4 Tank=Satisfied. You can go much longer without food. You just ate nuts and a drink before dinner.
  • 1 Full Tank=Satisfied and comfortable. It's the way you feel after finishing an average-portioned, healthful meal.
  • Overflow Level S =Stuffed. You could've stopped two scoops of pudding ago.
  • Overflow Level OS=Overstuffed. Audible groaning detected.
  • Overflow Level BP=Button Pop. It's the typical Thanksgiving gorge. You feel sick, guilty, and even take the name of your momma's stuffing casserole in vain.
Every time you find yourself reaching for the cheese sauce or cookie box, rate your hunger. Then think about whether you're reaching for the leftover lasagna because you're truly hungry or for a reason that has absolutely nothing to do with hunger. Ideally, you'll want to stay in the ¾ to Full Tank range—satisfied at all times. And you'll get there through eating regularly throughout the day. After taking these gauges for two weeks, you'll start to instinctively know why you're eating, and better, you'll train yourself to eat simply to keep your stomach satisfied—and not your emotions.
YOU: On A Diet Revised Edition: The Owner's Manual for Waist Management

More About this Book

YOU: On A Diet Revised Edition: The Owner's Manual for Waist Management

For the first time in our history, scientists are uncovering astounding medical evidence about dieting -- and why so many of us struggle with our weight and the size of our waists. Now researchers...

Continue Learning about Emotional Eating

How Can I Curb Emotional Eating?
How Can I Curb Emotional Eating?
How Can I Tell If I Am an Emotional Eater?
How Can I Tell If I Am an Emotional Eater?
How Can I Tell If I'm a Habitual Eater?
How Can I Tell If I'm a Habitual Eater?
Why Do I Crave Carbs When I'm Stressed?
Why Do I Crave Carbs When I'm Stressed?

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.