Emotional eating can derail the best laid plans for getting healthy and achieving your desired weight. It can also impact your physical health as we typically end up eating foods that are high in sugar, salt, and fat. If you are having trouble with emotional eating, it will be worsened by the intensity of your daily stress.
Emotional Eating is the emotional support system where food is used to help you cope with unpleasant situations, stressful feelings and less than positive emotions such as loneliness, sadness or boredom. The challenge is that this support system actually makes things worse because the issues are typically compounded with feelings of guilt after the emotional eating occurs.
Also there is this feeling of “why even bother try to get back on track” after the emotional eating as you feel like you slumped even further down the rabbit hole that you were trying to get out of.
There are many reasons why people turn to food for support. There may be a positive mental association with certain foods and happy times in your life. So for example, ice cream makes you feel loved because your mommy would take you for ice cream and it would make you feel loved and cared for, or the smell of sweet potato pone takes you back to happy memories of Christmas when it would fill the kitchen with warm delicious smells.
Sugar lights up the reward centers in your brain. So you immediately feel a high and exuberance from consuming it. High fat junk food such as fried chicken or pizza also creates an instant rush that you don’t experience with vegetables.
Emotional eating may feel good in the moment, but it does not address the triggers. So what do you do? First of all, let’s identify if you are an emotional eater.
If you suspect that you may use food as an emotional support, please take a few moments to answer the below questions:
Do I eat more when feeling stressed?
Do I eat when I’m not hungry?
Do I eat when I’m full?
Do I eat to feel better (to calm and soothe myself when I’m sad, mad, bored, anxious, etc.)?
Do I reward myself with food?
Do I regularly eat until stuffed?
Does food make me feel safe?
Do I feel like food is a friend?
Do I feel powerless or out of control around food?
Next week’s article will provide you with some advice that will be helpful if you answered yes to 1 or more of these questions. We could also dig a little deeper together as that’s what I do! Just email me.