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Avoiding Emotional Eating: Making a Plan

Topic Overview

Having a plan can help you deal with your emotions without using food. It's about you and what works best for you. Here are a few things you can try.

  • Keep a food journal.

    This can help you find out what triggers your emotional eating. You write down when and what you eat. You also write down what you were doing and feeling before you started eating.

  • Use a hunger scale.

    A hunger scale can help you tell the difference between true hunger and hunger that's just in your head (psychological hunger). When you start feeling like you want something to eat, rate your hunger on a scale of 1 to 10. The number 1 means you're really hungry. And 10 means you're so full you feel sick. A rating of 5 or 6 means you're comfortable. You're neither too hungry nor too full.

  • Change your response to triggers.

    Plan what you'll do when you notice your emotional eating triggers. Maybe instead of reaching for food, you could call a friend, take a walk, or drink a glass of water. Then you could observe how you feel.

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Current as of: March 9, 2020

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
Heather Quinn MD - Family Medicine

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