Emotional eating is a term that always seemed like nothing I did.
I didn’t eat a whole cake in a sitting because someone hurt my feelings. Or eat chips while mindlessly watching TV because I was stressed from work.
At least I didn’t think I did.
But there are so many levels of emotional eating. And I didn’t know that. It just so happens that I’ve been an “emotional eater” my whole life and I didn’t even know it. From reading, researching, and doing an elimination diet I figured it out for myself and it was then that realized I can’t be the only one who was oblivious to the fact that this was an issue for me. And what I found in talking to lots of people and later clients about this, is that it is SO common! The great thing is once you realize this, you can do something about it. How cool is that?
Understanding if this is even an issue for you is really important:
- Do you frequently eat when you feel emotional but not particularly hungry?
“When a desire or a craving comes from something other than hunger, eating can’t satisfy it,” says May. “If you are eating but don’t physically need the food, you’ll never feel satisfied.” In fact, research published in the journal Obesity in 2007 found that dieters who ate according to internal emotional cues, such as loneliness, instead of physical or external cues lost less weight over time and were more likely to gain it back.
- Instead of confronting a problem, do you hit the refrigerator?
Psychologists say that numbing yourself with food rather than dealing with your feelings can increase stress, which in turn can raise your blood pressure and weaken your immune system.
- Do you punish yourself after having a treat?
Guilt can lead to uncontrolled eating, says Georgia Kostas, a Dallas-based registered dietitian and the author of The Cooper Clinic Solution to the Diet Revolution: “If you feel bad about eating a scoop of ice cream, excess guilt may lead you to eat the whole carton. Now you’ve destroyed any pleasure you had hoped to derive from the ice cream.”
- Finally, do you regularly overeat those carby, fatty foods?
(You know—the ones you crave the most.) Here’s how to know: “Make good food choices about 90 percent of the time,” says Kostas, “and reserve the other 10 percent for ‘fun calories.’ ” If your comfort-food intake often exceeds that percentage, consider cutting back. ~ Taken from The Facts About Emotional Eating
I think one not mentioned but definitely factors in is and hit home for me was, do you eat something you’re not really happy about eating once you are finished since it’s not really nutritionally sound, but you want it to get “that feeling” and you eat it when alone so no one can judge you or talk to you about it? This one comes up a lot and it’s hard to admit. Or you mindlessly eat something and realize after the fact? Like, “huh? I don’t even remember eating that or why….” this may be a red flag that you are emotionally eating.
If you are someone who thinks you may be emotionally eating, take some time and read the following article. There are tips and tools and strategies to help you determine if you are doing this, what to do about it and when you need to seek additional help or advice:
You are awesome! And you are worth the time and energy to tackle this common issue so you can be vibrant and healthy. Time to get your healthy hustle on and get to reading!