Are You An Emotional Eater?
Answer the following questions honestly:
- Do you feel like you sometimes lose or have lost control over how you eat?
- Do you believe you are fat, even when others say you are fine?
- Is food the only thing you can think about?
- Do you feel guilty when you eat?
- Do you eat secretly when no one is around?
If you have answered “yes” to 2 or more of the above questions, continue reading to the end of this blog.
I have personally suffered from emotional eating and I remind myself about my own journey regularly…
It started with a handful of fruits, then a few pieces of cheese or a few biscuits, and the next thing I knew; I’d finished the cheese, biscuits and a whole bar of chocolate and I was still going to eat a full dinner.
Have you experienced this? You snack, eat dinner and afterwards you feel tired and bloated due to the amount of food you gorged on in a short amount of time. In a way you feel like you have lost control and you ask yourself: “Why am I doing this to myself?” This is one indication of emotional eating.
Many of the patients I see daily have emotional eating challenges. Some know they are emotional eaters and others are not aware until it’s made clear to them. Emotional eating isn’t something you can turn on or off and it is not due to lack of self control or discipline.
Emotional eating is when we comfort ourselves with food to suppress negative emotions such as anger, stress, boredom, fear, loneliness and sadness. When we are emotionally eating, we are not eating because we are hungry, but rather to suppress a psychological disturbance or problem we feel inside ourselves.
Various life events can trigger negative emotions from major traumatic events to day-to-day issues and this can lead to emotional eating. Some triggers to emotional eating can be work stress, fatigue, relationship problems, health problems and financial pressure.
When faced with these triggers you might not have an appetite and you might turn to binge eating to quickly consume whatever is convenient, without enjoyment.
Your emotions can influence your eating habits so strongly that you habitually practice mindless eating and use food as a distraction.
For example, if you have a deadline to finish you might put it off by going to eat a snack every 30 minutes. Or you might have gone through a traumatic event and instead of dealing with the feelings of pain and hurt, you eat to push the feeling down and comfort yourself.
Whatever emotions lead you to overeat can sabotage any weight-loss efforts and the emotions will continue to return. What’s worse is that you will now bear the additional burden of guilt about overeating and possibly set back your weight loss goals.
This can turn into an unhealthy cycle of emotions triggering you to overeat, then you feel bad about eating so you overeat again.
The good news is that if you’re prone to emotional eating, you can take steps to regain control of your eating habits and get back on track with your weight-loss goals. Here are some steps you can follow:
- Keep a food journal in which your record everything you are eating to help you become mindful of your eating habits.
- Learn how to manage your stress and find coping mechanism other than eating, drinking or smoking to help you keep the stress under control. Meditation and exercise has shown to have positive effects on relieving stress.
- Before eating anything ask yourself: are you really feeling hungry or are you going to eat to suppress an emotional feeling?
- Get a support system; those people who will motivate you such as family, friends and a like-minded community. There are many support groups out there. You just need to look for them.
- Distract yourself with healthy behaviours to get over the boredom such as going for a walk, dance class, gym, hobby, calling a supportive friend or listening to music.
- Remove the dangerous foods. Those foods you are really tempted to binge on need to be removed from your home until you have better habits, control and understanding.
- Treat yourself occasionally to prevent binge eating on foods you have been trying to avoid. Make sure your diet is mostly filled with healthy foods.
- Make mindful food choices with food.
- Don’t break yourself down if you have had a bad day of binging. Learn from it and figure out what caused you to binge. Then create a plan to try and prevent the emotional eating episode in the future.
- You can seek professional help from us at Transform Your Health Network if you are unable to overcome the emotional eating on your own.
Focus on making positive changes in your lifestyle and eating habits. Take it day-by-day and as you learn to practice better coping strategies and to curb emotional eating, remember to reward yourself. By rewarding yourself (not with food) for a job well done, you increase the likelihood that you’ll maintain your new healthy habits.
Sometimes developing alternative habits or distracting yourself from eating isn’t enough.
Healing from emotional eating is not something you have to do on your own.
At Transform Your Health Network, we can show you processes, tools and techniques so you can heal and overcome emotional eating. You can experience real guidance and support to overcome emotional eating and attain successful permanent weight-loss results.
Click Here to join our upcoming FREE Masterclass on The 3 Critical Reasons You Are Not Attaining Successful Weight Loss Results!