Manage Impulse Eating

How to Manage Impulse Eating: Tips and Tricks

How to Manage Impulse Eating: Tips and Tricks

Understanding Impulse Eating

Impulse eating is described as consuming food in response to emotions instead of hunger. This type of eating often leads to consuming unhealthy foods, which can be detrimental to your health. In fact, impulse eating is known to be a major contributor to weight gain and obesity. Some common signs are:

  • eating when you’re not hungry
  • eating in response to emotions (stress, boredom, sadness, etc.)
  • overeating or eating too much of certain foods
  • feeling guilty after eating

Moreover, it largely refers to binge eating disorder, which is an eating disorder. And it is characterized by episodes of binge eating followed by feelings of guilt, shame, and distress. There are a few key things to understand about impulse eating.

Things To Know

First, it’s important to realize that impulse eating is not the same as hunger. Hunger is a physical sensation that occurs when your body needs food. Impulse eating, on the other hand, is driven by emotions.

Second, impulse eating is often triggered by negative emotions, such as stress, anxiety, boredom, sadness, or loneliness.

Third, impulse eating can lead to health problems like obesity and type II diabetes.

Fourth, you can overcome impulse eating by developing healthier coping mechanisms for dealing with emotions.

So impulse eating is not the same as hunger, it’s driven by emotions that are often negative, and it can lead to health problems. Therefore, it requires developing healthier coping mechanisms and finding the right treatment for you.

Tips To Manage Impulse Eating

When you feel an urge to eat even though you’re not hungry, it can be tough to resist. Here are some tips to help you manage impulse eating:

Identify your triggers

In order to manage your impulse eating, you need to be aware of what triggers your urge to eat. Once you know what your triggers are, you can plan ahead and have a strategy in place to avoid giving in to your impulses. For instance, if you tend to eat when you’re bored, make sure you have healthy snacks on hand to keep yourself occupied.

In addition, when you identify your triggers, you can also work on addressing the underlying issue. For example, if you eat when you’re stressed, find healthy ways to cope with stress instead of turning to food. Eventually, you’ll be able to break the cycle of impulse eating and develop healthier habits.

Avoid fad diet

Avoid fad diet

Your diet should not be a punishment, it should be a way of life. And fad diets can often be restrictive, making you feel like you’re depriving yourself of certain foods. This can lead to binge eating or overeating when you finally do give in to your cravings. So instead of a fad diet, focus on making small, sustainable changes to your eating habits.

More often, it is not hunger that drives us to eat, but rather boredom, stress, or habit. Therefore, for impulse eating, it is important to find other activities to do that can occupy your time. And most importantly, avoid a fad diet!

Do not skip meals

It is very important to not skip meals if you are trying to control your impulse eating. When you skip meals, your blood sugar drops and you become more susceptible to cravings. Eat regular, well-balanced meals and snacks throughout the day to keep your blood sugar stable.

Also, skipping meals causes you to overeat later in the day. So you end up consuming more calories overall. Moreover, you can do some damage to your metabolism by frequently skipping meals. So make sure to eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day.

Stay hydrated

Keeping yourself hydrated is not only good for your health, but it can also help to keep your hunger in check. When you feel like you are starting to get hungry, drink a glass of water and see if that doesn’t take the edge off. For example, if you are at work and start to feel like you need a snack, drink a glass of water first and then wait 15 minutes.

If you are still hungry after that, then go ahead and have a healthy snack. Because it is believed that if you feel hungry very often, you are actually thirsty. And if you are constantly snacking, you might be satisfying your thirst with food instead of water. So, next time you get the urge to snack, drink some water first and see if that doesn’t help.

Practice mindfulness

Practice mindfulness

During impulse eating episodes, it is helpful to be as mindful as possible. This means being aware of what you are doing at the moment and not letting yourself get distracted. Pay attention to the taste, texture, and smell of the food. Notice how your body feels as you eat.

  • Are you really hungry?
  • Or are you just eating for pleasure?

Is it “Physical Hunger” or “Emotional Hunger” – with these questions in your mind and by being as present as possible, you can begin to control your impulse eating. For example, if you realise that you are not actually hungry, you can stop eating.

Eat slowly and mindfully

One of the main reasons people overeat is because they eat too quickly and don’t pay attention to their hunger cues. Also, when you’re not focusing on your food, it’s easy to lose track of how much you’re eating. And end up consuming more calories than you intended.

To avoid this, make a conscious effort to eat slowly and mindfully. Put down your fork or spoon between bites, and chew your food thoroughly. And take breaks throughout your meal. In fact, you can try the 20-20-20 rule: For every 20 minutes that you’re eating, take a 20-second break to look at something 20 feet away.

This will help you eat more slowly and mindfully, and prevent you from overeating.

Practicing Meditation & Yoga

By practicing meditation and yoga, and relaxing breathing exercises you can help train your mind and body to better handle stress and manage impulse eating. Calming Deep Breathing exercises are easy to do and are very effective and can be done anywhere and at any time:

Breathing Exercises – find a comfortable seated position, and then simply take deep, slow breaths in and out through your nose.

Eat more fiber

Fibers are a good source of satiety. They make you feel fuller for longer and prevent overeating. It is important to include fibers in every meal. Good sources of fiber include:

  • Whole grains
  • Fruits, and vegetables
  • Nuts
  • Oats
  • Cereals

So, these are some good sources of fibers that you need to make a part of your diet. Moreover, it is to be believed that fibers help in weight management.

Include protein in your meals

Include protein in your meals

Another way to keep the feeling of fullness for a longer time is by including protein in every meal. Proteins are an essential macronutrient and have many health benefits. They not only make you feel fuller but also reduce your cravings. Good sources of proteins include:

  • Chicken
  • Fish
  • Tofu
  • Legumes
  • Eggs
  • Lean meat (Chicken, Fish, Tuna, Lean Beef Steak)
  • Nuts and seeds

Protein-rich foods take longer to digest, which means they help you feel full for a longer time. So, if you want to avoid impulse eating, make sure to include protein in every meal. This even gives you an opportunity to snack on healthy protein-rich foods like nuts and seeds instead of unhealthy junk food.

Get enough sleep

It might sound counterintuitive, but one of the best ways to manage impulse eating is to get enough sleep. When you’re tired, you’re more likely to make poor food choices and give in to cravings. Shoot for seven to eight hours of shut-eye per night. Even, researchers have found that people who slept less than six hours per night were more likely to be obese.

For a good enough sleep, you can try to:

  • Establish a regular sleep schedule
  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol before bedtime
  • Create a relaxing bedtime routine
  • Exercise regularly
  • Limit screen time before bedtime

So, you should give importance to your sleep as well. Because people who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to be obese.

Keep a food mood journals

The importance of journals is often overstated, but in the case of managing impulse eating, they can be crucial. By writing down how you feel before and after you eat. As well as what you ate and when you can start to see patterns in your behavior. This information can then be used to make changes to your diet or lifestyle.

Moreover, it can be difficult to remember everything you eat in a day. So, keeping a food journal can help to make you more aware of your eating habits. There are many different ways to keep a food journal.

You can use a notebook, an app on your phone, or even just a piece of paper. The important thing is that you find a method that works for you.

Seek professional help

Seek professional help

When you feel like you have no control over your eating habits, it may be time to seek professional help. A therapist or psychologist can help you understand your triggers and develop a plan to manage them. If you have an underlying mental health condition, such as depression or anxiety, treatment can also help reduce your impulse to eat. Such types of professional treatment for impulse eating include:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy: This type of therapy can help you identify and change the thoughts and behaviors that contribute to your impulse eating.
  • Interpersonal therapy – such as Marriage or Relationship Councillor : This type of therapy can help improve communication and relationships, which may be a trigger for your impulse eating.
  • Nutrition counseling: A Nutritionist can help you develop a healthy eating plan that meets your nutritional needs.
  • Medication: In some cases, medication may be used to treat underlying conditions that contribute to impulse eating, such as depression or anxiety. There are also effective natural calming medications that can assist, contact us and we can recommend them to you.

If you are struggling with impulse eating, talk to your doctor or a mental health professional to find the best treatment for you. With the right help, you can learn to manage your impulse eating and live a healthier life.

So, these are 12 tips to help you control your impulse eating. Consider which ones might work best for you and give them a try. Remember that it takes time and effort to change eating habits, so be patient with yourself.


To conclude, impulse eating is a common problem that many people face. However, it is possible to overcome this issue with the right mindset and some self-control. By following the tips and tricks listed above, you can learn how to manage impulse eating. And make healthier choices for your body and mind.

Kevin Naude’ – Body Sculpt Doc is a Nutritionist who can help you make the best food choices for your health journey.