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!