5 Ways to Shut Down Emotional Eating

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After a bad day, do you seek solace in ice cream, cheesecake, or whipped cream straight from the can? You may keep eating fatty foods when you're feeling down because you're less likely to taste the fat in food, according to new research from the University of Wurzburg in Germany.

In the study, scientists asked a group of volunteers to sample a variety of creamy drinks that contained different amounts of fat. Before tasting the treats, the study subjects were shown three different videos. The first depicted a happy scene, the second sad, and the third neutral. The humdrum video had no influence on the volunteers' taste buds, but after watching the two emotional clips, the participants were less able to tell the drinks apart. The lesson: emotions impact our sensory perceptions of food. And eating anything—when what you really need has nothing to do with food—is a pattern that if broken, can dramatically transform your health. If you're open to trying, here are five strategies to put into action.

RELATED: What to Do When Anxiety Is Driving You to Overeat

Let it out

woman negativity thought mental-health positivity health wellbeing psychology woman negativity thought mental-health positivity health wellbeing psychology , sadness, or anxiety bottled up inside, allowing it to fester ups the chances that you'll use food to detach, or stuff it back down. For this reason, I often advise my clients to find healthy ways to release their feelings, like watching a tearjerker to have a good cry, or furiously scrubbing the tub to let out aggression. I'm not a huge fan of Freud, but I do love his quote, "Unexpressed emotions will never die. They are buried alive and will come forth in uglier ways." Truth.

RELATED: Stressed Out? Tricks to Avoid Emotional Eating

Don’t multi-soothe

cropped view of woman sitting on couch and eating ice cream while watching tv cropped view of woman sitting on couch and eating ice cream while watching tv

Distance yourself

pantry-cleanup pantry-cleanup

Prevent the spiral

Fast Food Fast Food

Structure your time

clocks clocks and @goodhealth

Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD, is Health's contributing nutrition editor, a New York Times best-selling author, and a private practice performance nutritionist who has consulted for five professional sports teams.

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