Avoiding emotional eating and using mindfulness
Additionally, parents and children can avoid emotional eating by skipping the food when they feel angry, tired, nervous, bored, or sad, instead choosing activities such as journaling, taking a walk, listening to music, reading a book, or taking deep breaths while thinking pleasant thoughts. It’s only time to eat if you physically feel hungry, your stomach is rumbling, you are not craving some specific sweet or salty food, or it’s a meal or snack time (or at least 2.5-4 hours since the last time you ate).
Dr. Parks also reviewed ways that mindfulness may help reduce the risk of obesity by reducing stress, enhancing a person’s ability to regulate their everyday behaviors, and teaching individuals to accept discomfort. Another stress reduction strategy is repeated use of “4-7-8 breathing,” which begins with exhalation while the mouth is closed. Then, inhale through the nose for 4 seconds, hold the breath for 7 seconds and slowly exhale out the mouth for 8 seconds.
Reducing the risk of obesity from stress comes from learning to manage stress. Clinicians can play a role in helping both parents and children learn strategies to manage and cope with stress in the short term while developing resilience over the longer term and reducing the likelihood of poor eating and emotional eating.
Dr. Parks reported no disclosures.