What is emotional eating?
Do you readily identify with this term and even pinpoint personal engagement with emotional eating? Or is this phrase not even on your radar? Read on to single out feeling fueled eating in your life. Even children describe reaching for food to comfort themselves! Typically the scenario occurs with both psychological and physiological drivers to reach for food to comfort.
- Angry: Focused on an unpleasant exchange of words with your mother, you swing through the drive-through and immediately and quickly eat without tasting or thinking about eating.
- Bored: Not feeling like doing anything you reach for sweet or salty foods and sometimes rotate through attempting to “feel” like doing something.
- Lonely: Your plans have been cancelled again. You wonder if people enjoy being with you. You reach for your favorite comfort food and eat the whole thing before your 30 minute show is over.
- Sad: Unexpected treat food appeared in the office. You only planned to have ½ a muffin but in fact ate two. You think “why bother, I never have self-control” and proceed to order a large dinner which is far more than you typically eat and eat all of it.
- Happy: You got the new job and go out with friends to celebrate. It’s just one night and it won’t be this special again. You are so full you feel terrible.
5 Feeding Feeling Traps deal with both positive and negative emotions. Does feeling/emotion fueled eating work? Only for a few minutes, typically 30 minutes tops! It is the biggest barrier to weight loss or weight maintenance. Of course it even leads to weight gain!
What can you do about emotional eating?
º Keep a log for a week with what you eat and what your mood was at the time? Be honest about quantities because this is often a big surprise. A form of unconscious eating occurs with feeding feelings.
º Think about your values and put symbols or pictures in places that will remind you why dealing with your feelings and not covering them with food is so important to you.
º Banish easy comfort food from your house.
º Set a timer for 15 minutes when the urge strikes and DO something distracting – clean, meditate, walk, call a friend, work, breathe deeply, consider your strengths and make a list of them.
º Consider that feeling-based eating is its own positive feedback loop. It becomes stronger with each repetition. Sometimes this self-knowledge is enough to motivate practicing the previous ideas.
Bonus = End of Overeating!