As we get busier with the pressures of life and all there is to do, it is easy to feel out of control. One way of dealing with those emotions is by turning to food.Emotional eating is defined as overeating in order to relieve negative emotions. Emotional eating is using food for comfort, relief of stress, or as a reward, rather than to satisfy hunger. Emotional eaters generally feel powerless over their food cravings and food control their thoughts. It is important to realize that emotional eating is no different than any other addiction. Mindful eating is a practice that develops awareness of eating habits and allows you to pause between your triggers and actions. It then becomes possible to change the emotional habits that have sabotaged diets in the past.
Emotional eating is using food to make yourself feel better. It is eating to fill emotional needs, rather than to fulfill a physical need for food.
No Time to Read? Scroll to the bottom to learn about my upcoming program!
Using food occasionally as a pick me up, a reward, or to celebrate isn’t always a bad thing. However, when eating is your primary emotional coping mechanism—when your first impulse is to open the refrigerator whenever you’re upset, angry, lonely, stressed, exhausted, or bored—you get stuck in an unhealthy cycle where the real feeling or problem is never addressed.
Emotional hunger can’t be filled with food. Eating may feel good in the moment, but the feelings that triggered the eating are still there.
Often, you feel worse than before because of the guilt that accompanies the unnecessary calories consumed. You feel guilty for messing up and not having more willpower. Even more problematic, you stop learning healthier ways to deal with your emotions, you have an even more difficult time controlling your weight, and you feel powerless over both food and your feelings.
Some ways to identify if you are an emotional eater:
Do you eat more when you’re feeling stressed?
Do you eat when you are not hungry or even when you’re full?
Do you eat to feel better?
Do you use food as a reward for yourself?
Do you eat until you’ve stuffed yourself?
Does food make you feel safe? Do you feel like food is a friend?
Do you feel out of control around food?
Emotional hunger can be powerful and it is easy to mistake it for physical hunger. There are clues you can look for that can help discern physical hunger from emotional hunger.
Emotional hunger is the craving for specific comfort foods. When you’re physically hungry, almost anything sounds good, including healthy food such as vegetables. Emotional hunger craves sugary snacks that provide an instant rush, or foods high in fat.
Emotional hunger often leads to mindless eating. Before you know it, you’ve eaten a whole bag of chips or an entire pint of ice cream without really paying attention or fully enjoying it. When eating in response to physical hunger, typically a person is more aware of what they are doing.
Emotional hunger isn’t satisfied once you’re full. You keep wanting more and more, often eating until you’re uncomfortably full. While physical hunger doesn’t need to be stuffed, and you feel satisfied when your stomach is full.
Emotional hunger isn’t an ache from the stomach. The hunger is a craving you can’t get out of your thoughts and the focus is on specific textures, tastes, and smells.
When you eat to satisfy physical hunger, you’re unlikely to feel guilty or ashamed because you’re simply giving your body what it needs. If you feel guilty after you eat, it’s likely because you know deep down that you’re not eating for nutritional reasons.
It is important to identify what situations, places, or feelings make you reach for the comfort of food. Most emotional eating is linked to unpleasant feelings, but it can also be triggered by positive ones as well, such as rewarding yourself for achieving a goal or celebrating a holiday.
Some common causes of emotional eating are stress, literally “stuffing” emotions, boredom or feelings of emptiness, habits that developed during childhood and social influences.
Finding alternatives to emotional eating and dealing with the emotions that cause the behavior are essential in successfully breaking the cycle.
Mindful eating is essential to healthy eating habits. Ways to ensure mindful eating include: making good choices while grocery shopping, eating when hungry but not starving, starting with small plates and portions, pausing for a moment before eating to contemplate the food on your plate, taking small bites and by eating slowly. Truly experiencing food and giving appreciation to the food on your plate, helps to give more thought and meaning to the process.
Try practicing a few of the mindful eating techniques and you will begin to notice the shift in thoughts you have about food. When you understand, truly, that food is meant for nutritional purposes as opposed to filling other voids, there is a natural transition into eating mindfully.
Would you like to take this to the next level?
I have created a program for you if you struggle with Emotional Eating. You will get tools to help you dive into why you do this and how to stop, emotional support that will help you deal with your feelings in a healthier way and my guidance to help you move through this.
What do you get?
- 3 part video series with me on how to move through emotional eating
- Energy clearing on self love
- Energy clearing on emotional eating-done live with group
- Recorded affirmations on emotional eating and self love
- Meditations and Visualizations that will help you move through this
- A free month subscription to my kundalini yoga videos
- Lessons to apply each week
Feel like you don’t have any time? Don’t worry, this course is done on your time and I make it easy to do to fit into your busy schedule.
To register go HERE, leave me your email address and I will send an email with invoice options.
You see, this is something that is very near to me. I have struggled with emotional eating for years, probably most of my life. I grew up in a chaotic environment and shut out a lot of things, including my feelings. I learned to cope, by not speaking up when I felt hurt and not sharing truly how I felt. My grandma kept a “candy drawer” that was filled with any type of candy you can imagine. I learned that when I felt bad, food helped, particularly sugar. It was a kid’s dream come true, but it turned into a sugar addiction as an adult. Sugar, by the way, is more addictive than cocaine, as studies now show. It is one of the worst things we can ingest and it leads to a major addiction.
Today, I have found many foods that I use instead that are healthy and using the tools I will be giving you, I have learned how to deal with emotional triggers that affect me. I can’t say that I am perfect 100% of the time, however, I am a million times better than I used to be and it takes patience, a lot of self love and gentleness, as I have learned. I would love the opportunity to assist you in this journey. It is after all another way to deeply love yourself.