This is a rather in depth article about emotional eating. The biggest things that helped me cut this type of overeating out was first to realize I was doing this. The second was to prepare for it to happen. This might sound strange, to actually prepare for an emotional overload. But if you know you have something seemingly stressful coming up, you can plan for your response to the situation. You know yourself pretty well at this point, what is your response pattern to these types of events?
I will give you an example of my own struggles with emotional eating around the most sensitive topic in my life, my kids. Hendricks, one of our 3 year old twins, has been given a diagnosis of autism. The myriad of tests, specialists, schools, decisions, and challenged personal beliefs made for some stressful days. Leading into a major lifting meet last year I had to cut 15lbs to make weight. I couldn’t afford errors in my eating. This brought me to the realization that I would eat some kind of pastry or sugary bread product immediately after one of these meetings for Hendricks. So, I started planning ahead. I would pack something that I really liked that fit in with my eating plan. Right after the meeting, in the car, I would make myself eat what I brought and then reassess my cravings. (I also did some work on my thoughts and reactions to the situation, but for simplicity, I am going to give you the mechanics of what I did.) If I was still craving something, I would get a coffee or tea. Hot beverages sometimes work as comfort foods. By this point, I would usually give up on my need for something sugary. If I hadn’t and I ate it anyway, I rode the bike longer and gave myself a hug. Hope this is helpful. Let me know what has worked for you.