Emotional overeating, otherwise known as stress eating, has been a major issue during the COVID-19 pandemic. With the added overall stress that many Americans are feeling at this time, combined with a more sedentary lifestyle due to staying at home more and avoiding gyms for health reasons, emotional overeating has become a serious problem. According to this poll, two-thirds of Americans felt more stressed as a result of the pandemic, and 42% has had undesired weight gain (and an additional 18% has had undesired weight loss).

Deptford Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing has advice if you’re an emotional eater and trying to get things back under control.

What Is Emotional Eating?

Emotional eating is done when we eat because of feelings or situations and not because we’re hungry. It can become a problem when done frequently, with possible signs including:

  • Feeling an urgent need to eat.
  • Craving specific kinds of foods.
  • Having unusually large portions of food.
  • Trying to satisfy these cravings late at night.
  • Rewarding yourself with food.
  • Having feelings of guilt or embarrassment after overindulging.

Redirecting Is the Key

The first step to curbing emotional overeating is to figure out your triggers.

Once you know what brings on the urge to eat, then you’ll want to find other ways to react when these triggers occur.

Exercising is a great way to burn off stress and distract you from food cravings. In addition, meditating or doing something social like playing a game or talking to a friend can also be a good distraction and stress reliever.

Finally, making sure that you’re getting a good amount of sleep every night (between seven and nine hours) is also a good goal to shoot for, as a rested body won’t feel like it needs more fuel (i.e. food) to be able to get through the day.

To learn more about Deptford Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing and all of the services they offer, visit http://deptford-center.facilities.centershealthcare.org.