How can I avoid overeating when I am in emotional pain?

Ms. Ashley Koff, RD
Nutrition & Dietetics
For anyone who is a stress/emotional eater, hitting a 7 or greater on the anxiety scale makes it pretty tough to turn back from those foods or beverages we perceive to soothe our angst, or those that despite knowing they aren't soothers do just make us feel better (even if it's only for the moment).

Here are some ways to avoid overeating when you are in pain:

1. Incorporating relaxation and soothing efforts into the day can help keep your starting anxiety number as low as possible: are any of these -- a bath, a massage, a swim, a coloring book, a drop the dog and the kids off at daycare day options?

2. Try incorporating magnesium, chamomile, mint, turmeric, and possibly Traumeel or soma creams to help the body soothe inside and out.

3. Keep house and office (if possible) safety zones. No sugar or alcohol readily available will mean having to move to get it -- in a pain-state, this may be just enough intervention.

4. Enlist a support system -- When in pain, we want to just cry! Sometimes we eat when we can't/don't want to cry. So as not to burden one friend or one loved one, create a pain unloading system complete with pets, stuffed animals, emails, online communities -- share your pain equally and you are less likely to feel like a burden and more likely to feel supported.

5. Cut yourself some slack -- Pain hurts, do you really want to add self-inflicted bruises too? So you overate? So you had some sugar? Go to bed, try to sleep, and the sun will come up tomorrow with a new chance to feel a little better.

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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.