I’m sure you’ll agree that we’ve all been stuck in emotional eating, right?
This is a major hurdle for sustainable weight loss that must be confronted.
I hope this helps!
Have you ever eaten an entire container of something that you didn’t even really like? Have you ever found yourself in the kitchen looking for food minutes after you finished eating a meal? Do you automatically seek out food when you’re upset or stressed out? These are all signs of emotional eating, which can be causing significant weight gain and problems with your health.
Coming to Grips With Emotional Eating
When you use food to help you feel better or manage stress, you are emotionally eating. Food is meant to satisfy physical hunger and give your body the nutrients it needs to function, and when you eat things that don’t meet those needs, you’re probably doing it to fill an unmet emotional need, instead.
While using food to celebrate or lift your spirits now and then isn’t necessarily a terrible thing, if you’re using food and eating as the primary way you cope with your emotions, then you have a problem. Relying on food to help you when you’re bored, tired, sad, or stressed leads to unhealthy behaviors that include overeating, binge eating, eating unhealthy foods, and associating food with needs that can’t be handled by eating.
Learning to find healthier, more productive ways to cope with your emotions and stress is crucial to changing your relationship with food. Not sure if you need to worry about this?
Ask yourself these questions:
• When you’re stressed, do you eat more than you usually would?
• Do you eat even if you’re not hungry?
• Do you eat even when you’re already full?
• Do you eat to improve how you feel?
• Do you use food as a reward?
• Do you associate eating with feeling safe or loved?
• Do you sometimes feel you’re unable to control your eating?
Is it Physical or Emotional Hunger?
Being able to distinguish between true, physical hunger and the emotional needs that often disguise themselves as hunger is important in learning how to overcome emotional eating. There are some ways that you can tell these two apart if you pay attention.
When you’re physically hungry, nearly all food sounds good because your body needs nutrients. If you’re having specific cravings for certain foods (especially if those foods are full of sugar, fat, or salt) and nothing else will satisfy you, then you’re likely emotionally hungry.
Physical hunger builds gradually and stems from your belly and throat, but emotional hunger can begin very suddenly and is often felt in your mouth. Emotional hunger feels very urgent and overwhelming. Unless you’ve not eaten in an exceptionally long time, physical hunger may be annoying, but it’s generally not as demanding on your mind.
Physical hunger begins to subside when you begin eating and ends with your meal. Emotional hunger will linger, even after your stomach is full. If you find that you’re wanting something more to eat after you just ate, you’re trying to fill an emotional need with a physical substance.
If you feel guilt or shame after eating, you were likely eating to satisfy emotional hunger rather than a physical need. If you’re feeling inadequate about your eating choices, chances are you made them for reasons other than nutritional benefit.
How Can You Stop Emotional Eating?
Identifying the emotional triggers, lingering social habits, and bad influences can help you to stop your emotional eating habits and learn to listen instead to what your body needs and wants. You also must look for healthier ways to fill psychological voids and deal with stress and emotions that don’t involve food.
Learning to eat more mindfully can help you become better attuned to your body so that you disconnect your eating from your feelings.