Are you new mom struggling with emotional eating at home, or while you’re at work? Deep down, you probably know that you’re not genuinely hungry, but you snack anyway!
Settling into motherhood and navigating all of the emotional and physical changes going on, not to mention the stresses of everyday life can really do a number on your eating habits.
Ready to start breaking the cycle? Here are some tips for curbing emotional eating at home or while you’re at work.
Are hidden beliefs playing a part?
Comfort eating is linked to your emotions, so if you’re bored at work, feel unappreciated at home, or are having too much pressure piled on you from every direction, you may be turning to food to deal with the emotions.
It can go a lot deeper than this too, and hidden beliefs can also play a big part. Maybe you’re lacking confidence in your abilities as a new mom and the anxiety that this creates pushes you towards comfort eating. Or maybe you believe that as a working mother you have to go above and beyond in your job role as well as at home, and are on the fast track to burnout as a result.
Whatever the situation, dealing with these underlying factors is super important for helping you to stop emotional eating. Without this, you’re likely to just continue on with your same habits!
Don’t multitask while you eat lunch
If you’re at work, do you always tend to eat while you’re still at your desk? If you’re at home do you shove something in your mouth while standing at the kitchen counter doing countless other tasks?
Multitasking means you’re not going to be paying much attention to your food and it’s gone before you know it. You’re also a lot less likely to get the message that you’re actually full, which means you’ll probably just keep eating even when your body has had enough.
At work, make a point of getting up and going elsewhere for your lunch break. Ideally, this will be somewhere that won’t offer distractions so you can concentrate on what you’re eating and being mindful with your approach.
At home, make a point of sitting down at the table for your meal. Ideally, you can have the kiddos join and you can use it as an opportunity to connect.
What you eat for lunch can be really important. Filling up on protein and vegetables can help to stop you snacking.
And whatever you do, don’t skip lunch altogether. Skipping meals is a surefire way to encourage unhealthy snacking in the afternoon.
Don’t have unhealthy snacks at the ready
It takes a lot more effort to eat if you don’t have unhealthy snacks right there in your desk drawer, or sitting on the kitchen counter. If they’re there, you’re probably going to eat them! Not having unhealthy snacks within easy access is one of the easiest ways to avoid mindless snacking.
If you really feel like you need a snack in between meals, instead of trying to ignore it, choose more nutritious options.
Think carrot or pepper sticks, rollups filled with healthy choices, vegetable muffins (zucchini, carrot, or pumpkin are yum options), rather than cookies, potato chips and other fat and sugar heavy snacks.
Drink herbal tea
Staying hydrated can be super important for curbing cravings, not least because thirst can be mistaken for hunger. Water is a great choice but if you need some variety, herbal tea can also help. There’s a lot of varieties to pick from so you’ll probably be able to find one that helps to satisfy cravings, even for sweet ones. Plus, the physical act of holding the cup in your hands can distract from them too.
Keep everything unhealthy focused in one place
The workplace is notorious for having snacks, treats and leftovers all around…in the break room, the pantry, or even co-workers’ desks! Similarly at home, you might have kids’ snacks on the counter, on top of the fridge, or in the easy-to-reach “snack cabinet”.
When there isn’t a designated place for unhealthy treats and snacks, that can make it hard to stay away from them. If you don’t want to risk being tempted, see if you can persuade the powers-that-be to keep one area allocated for this so you can avoid it. You can do something similar at home by keeping all of your guilty foods in one specific place … preferably one that isn’t that easy to reach for.
Get an accountability buddy
Any challenge feels easier when you’ve got support, right? Rally your co-workers to get on board with you so you can all support each other. At home, ask your partner, friend, or family member to have your back. Commit to eating a healthy, nutritious lunch together and have each other’s backs when you’re struggling.
Affirmations are another tool you can use to curb emotional eating. When you feel the urge to reach for comfort food, repeat positive affirmations to yourself. This can be as simple as saying “I only eat when I’m hungry” or “I have the power to control my cravings.” You may feel a little silly saying it, but it works!