I’d like to introduce you to an exercise I created called the 5-5-5-5-5 exercise. It’s one of my favorite strategies for coping with emotional eating. The bottom line is that specific kinds of distraction can go a long way in breaking you free from stress and emotional eating.
When you feel overwhelmed or are ruminating about a problem, it’s important to move and act in a new way and to have a very detailed plan in place. Remember that to use distraction effectively, give the activity 100 percent of your attention for a specific amount of time.
Get out a piece of paper and write down:
• 5 people (friend, parent, etc.) you can call when you feel down or upset, or need to vent.
• 5 ways you relax (take a hot shower, shut your eyes, put your feet up, etc.)
• 5 places you go to calm down (your bed, a quiet room where people can’t bother you, outdoors, etc.)
• 5 things you can say to yourself (“I can do this!” “This too will pass,” etc.)
• 5 activities to distract yourself (start a puzzle, watch a movie, run an errand, etc.)
Hang this list in an easy-to-see location (like on your refrigerator or cupboard). When you feel the tug of emotional eating, try out one of these activities for 5 minutes!
Dr. Susan Albers is a clinical psychologist and author of the New York Times Bestselling. For more strategies and tips see: 50 More Ways to Soothe Yourself Without Food. Order now for bonus items!