6 joyful things to do right now instead of eating

You want to stop overeating.

That’s why you’re here. You’d do just about anything to get your eating under control and feel like a normal human being.

The problem is, is your eating is actually serving a purpose. It’s not as weak, mindless, or dumb as you think it is.

And all too often, the purpose is to feel better.

So, if you try to take away the food, you also take away one of the only options you’ve given yourself for feeling good or relieving stress. Which obviously isn’t going to work long-term.

The good news is: instead of binge eating, you could do something joyful. Might sound crazy, but it’s true. Here are 6 awesome things you can do (right now) that will actually stop your binge impulses and make you feel better.

Feeling like your eating is out of control or like it's all you can do to feel better? Here are 6 joyful things you can do to fill yourself up instead of eating.

What’s up with eating?

If you’re feeling sick, guilty, shameful, gaining weight, or otherwise unhappy about your eating, I hear you. That cycle of eat-shame-control-eat is a nasty place to get stuck.

You don’t even necessarily have to be binging on a lot of food to feel these effects. I had a client who told me about her ‘binge eating’ – telling me that she would regularly eat a cheese sandwich before going to sleep at night. For her, that was binge eating and it made her feel both out of control and ashamed of herself, even though it was just a sandwich. This seems like a minor issue if you struggle on a grander scale, but it’s no less real or painful.

Causes of overeating, binge eating, and emotional eating

Luckily, no matter how your problem eating manifests, all are totally solvable. There are a few different causes – some physical, some mental, and some a mixture of the two. However, problem eating is almost never the true problem.

Problem eating is nearly always a symptom of other issues, whether they’re nutritional, emotional, social, or mental health related.

And, while you do need long-term life changes to truly start transforming your eating for good, there are things you can do right now instead of eating. Here are 6 awesome options.

Find nourishment

1. Eat a really nutritious snack or even a small meal.

Sit down, focus on it, breathe, and eat with all your senses.

2. Heat up some miso soup.

It’s super rich in vitamins and minerals and can really help curb cravings and leave you feeling more relaxed and able to deal.

Find relaxation

3. Pamper yourself.

Do an at-home facial, a foot scrub, watch a favorite TV show, whatever helps you relax and unwind. Try it for a good 60 minutes. Give yourself permission to binge AFTER that if it’s not working for you. This can help take the pressure off.

4. Try creating something.

You can read more about this here, but basically, this is all about getting out of your head, doing some drawing or coloring, and relaxing into the flow of things. It’s a great stress reliever.

Find release

5. Vent to a friend.

If you can’t say what you need to at the time, call a friend and have a good old venting session. Maybe warn them beforehand that that’s what you need, and then go for it. Get it all out and see if you still want to binge afterward.

6. Dance.

Close the curtains, lower the lights, put on some music and move your body. Feel the music, feel your body. Set yourself a four-song minimum and really dance it out. This helps you not only release some of the tension and control over your mind, body, words, actions, and everything, but it gets you in a more embodied state (which is the true secret behind waving your binging goodbye)

Instead of eating, find some joy

Easy to say, harder to do. At least to begin with. Try making yourself a big list of all the things you enjoy – then when you feel like you need food to fix your mood, whip our your list and try something else.

You can see that to truly work on problem eating, you have to be prepared to really examine your self and life and put in the time and reflection to really transform them. But, these six alternatives to eating can provide some relief when the going gets tough and you need a quick fix.

So, next time you’re going to rummage around in the kitchen, take a few deep breaths and try something different. It’s ok if it doesn’t work right away and you eat anyway. It’ll happen.

Just keep on loving yourself, keep on trying, and you’ll do great.

As always, if you feel like you need a little extra support, I’m here. Overeating and binge eating are areas I love to work with because you can get such great results quickly.

Tell me: What do you do when you feel an urge to overeat?

About Samantha

Hello! I'm Sam and I'm an Eating Psychology Coach. I work with women who struggle with emotional eating and weight loss to develop new strategies and lifestyles so they can stop using food to cope, lose weight, and eat happy.

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