How often have you found yourself at the bottom of a bag of Doritos or a jar of Cookie Butter, at the end of hectic day?

Comfort eating is an automatic behavior for a lot of us. 

Studies show that eating when we are feeling emotional,  “feel good” chemicals release in the brain. As human beings, we are wired to avoid any form of pain (whether it be physical or emotional) and to seek pleasure.

This pleasure can be in the form of many things: shopping, alcohol, drugs, sex, Facebook, Instagram Reels, TikTok. 

For many of us, the easiest way to soothe ourselves is through food because it is so readily accessible.

Its always there, its reliable, its supportive (so we think to ourselves)When working with clients, I look at the kinds of situations that trigger them to overeat and we look at alternatives to eating. 

Of course, sometimes the only thing we want to do is eat and that’s perfectly okay – just do it mindfully. 

Emotional eating does not need to be emotional OVER-eating. 

Here is a list created of things that you can do instead of eat. So if you choose not to eat when you are feeling bad, here is a list to choose from!

  1. Call a friend who will listen
  2. Play with your dog or pet
  3. Find a soothing object – soft jersey, blanket
  4. Vent in a journal or vent to the chair
  5. Do a Mindfulness body scan (don’t know what that is, reach out to me and I will walk you through it)
  6. Do a meditation
  7. Breathe …. take 5 deep breaths in, hold for 5 and breathe out slowly for 10 (or do HABT breathing-reach out to me for details on that)
  8. Go for a walk
  9. Go into the garden
  10. Create a playlist or listen to music
  11. Do a puzzle
  12. Play cards or solitaire
  13. Create a vision board
  14. Connect virtually with others in support groups
  15. Play with worry beads
  16. Plan a holiday
  17. Plan a party
  18. Do some gardening or plant a herb garden
  19. Watch some TED talks
  20. Do a free online course. Coursera has some great and fun courses to chose from.
  21. Do embroidery , suddoko, a crossword, knit, sew
  22. Doodle
  23. Paint or sketch
  24. Squeeze bubble wrap – one of my favorites!
  25. Soak in the bath with Epsom salts and candles – cheesy, I know, but it works!
  26. Do 3 yoga poses
  27. Make yourself a cup of herbal tea
  28. Make a gratitude list or write a list of what is NOT wrong
  29. Check out Pinterest
  30. Clean out cupboards, drawers
  31. Netflix
  32. Dance like nobody’s watching
  33. Scrapbook
  34. Organize your old photos or create a photo album
  35. Read a magazine
  36. Breathe again
  37. Rearrange a room
  38. Organize your books
  39. Write a handwritten letter
  40. Bake or cook something and give it to the homeless
  41. Next time you are at a toy shop buy bubbles and blow bubbles – another favorite of mine!
  42. Google an interesting topic
  43. Go into nature
  44. Get a mindfulness coloring-in book or one of those adult ones (those are fun)
  45. Visit a nursery
  46. Go to the movies
  47. Change into comfy, soft clothes and curl under a blanket
  48. Listen to a podcast or the radio
  49. Switch off all the lights and light candles
  50. Go look at the stars or the clouds
  51. Think of past happy moments
  52. Plan a career change

If none of these activities appeal to you and you choose not to eat, then the solution is to actually feel the emotion. 

The reason we eat emotionally is to escape and distract ourselves from the difficult emotion. 

Emotional eating is a symptom of avoidance to something you may not want to have a face to face heart to heart talk about.  

Wouldn’t you rather have a heart to heart, face that fear, acknowledge whats really going on, instead of bullying yourself, suffering those nasty messages from your inner critic and or continuing on the roller coaster of stress & anxiety. 

It’s time to deal.

You got this. You are strong, you are worthy, you are enough.