Updated: Aug 27
Did you know that the majority of situations that result in overeating is prompted by feelings, and NOT physical hunger?
Emotional Eating describes eating that is influenced by emotions-both positive AND negative.
People who may be emotionally eating often eat in an attempt to self-soothe or to experience momentary relief from difficult feelings, relieve stress, or simply lack other tools to cope with distress.
Signs of Emotional Eating:
Snacking when you do not feel physically hungry or when you are moderately full
Experiencing an intense craving for a particular food
Not feeling satiated after eating adequate amounts of healthy food
Anxiously gathering more food while your mouth is full
Feeling emotionally relieved while eating
Eating during or following a stressful experience
Eating alone to avoid others noticing
Numbing Feelings with food
We are ALL emotional eaters, so there is NO reason to feel shame if any of those signs resonate with you.
In fact, many cultures use food as a way to celebrate, deal with grief, connect, and show love- and there is nothing wrong or unhealthy about that.
However, if it seems that turning to food is the ONLY way you deal with your emotions, it's important to recognize that and seek help in this area.
One thing that has been helpful for both myself and my clients, is incorporating mindfulness, whenever we feel the desire to eat.
Mindfulness describes being in the present moment with non-judgmental awareness.
Next time you think you may be pulled to emotionally eat, try this:
Pause for just a brief moment to ask yourself the following questions:
Am I physically hungry or just bored?
If I'm physically hungry- what sounds good to eat?
If I'm not physically hungry- what do I really need?
What emotions are present right now?
When you mindfully notice the feelings that prompt eating, you practice bringing your awareness, not your guilt, to your habits.