Everyone does it at some stage in life. Others do it more often.
What is it? It is "emotional eating".
Food is such an easy neutral friend when your emotions are topsy turvy. Stresses at work. Pressures at home. Sad news. Feeling low. Feeling disappointed. Feeling out of control. Sense of anxiety. Feeing lonely. Watching sad and bad things unfolding on the TV news. These are negative emotions and feelings but for some, emotional eating isn’t always due to negative feelings. You may eat more with pleasant emotions. Extreme joy. In love. Feeling free.
There are many triggers for emotional eating.
Sometimes you may not even realise that emotions trigger eating. Without a second thought, you reach into the fridge or pantry or stop by the drive-thru to buy something nice on the way home from work.
Emotional eating means that you’re probably not tummy hungry at all but food seems to ‘fix you’. That ‘fix’ is not long lasting and it can turn to bite you back with added feelings of disappointment, failure and guilt.
Emotions are not bad things. How you react to your emotions is more critical. In the long term, you want to find how to better deal with the way you react to and respond to your emotions and the triggers behind them. In the short term, right here and now, you want to find a fix that takes your mind away; a fix that’s not going to interrupt your quest for a healthier, comfortable body.
To help the new fix work, it’s best to:
Ideas to get you started:
This is just a starting list of things to do instead of eating when you’re in emotional turmoil. This will get you thinking so be sure to start your own list right away.
Remember, this is just a starting list to get you thinking. Write in your own ideas ready for the next time you find your emotions are tricking you to eat.
A psychologist will help you tackle the emotional eating with advanced techniques and skills. If simple distraction isn’t helping, ask for help from the experts.
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