How to Stop Emotional Eating?
Do you qualify as someone who does emotional eating? Do you head for the pantry when you are upset, sad, or happy? It could also be possible that you are not aware of being someone who compensates for emotions with food.
In order to better know yourself, analyse the reasons that compel you to eat. Each time you put food in your mouth, stop and ask yourself: “Why am I eating?” Is it real hunger (gurgling, feeling of emptiness, drops in energy)? Is it a conditioned hunger (for example, you eat because it’s noon)? Or is it a psychological hunger (you have the desire to eat, but are not necessarily hungry)?
If you notice that psychological hunger often torments you, it will be interesting to find out the reasons behind its manifestation.
Two types of emotions are said to make us eat without being hungry: emotions from the heart, and emotions from the head.
Emotions from the heart
Boredom, solitude, sadness, tiredness, need for attention, affection, or love, these are the type of emotions that are said to be “from the heart”. This type of emotions compels us to seek soft, creamy, comforting foods, as if our brains wanted to fill the void with food. The type of food that is sought can be, among others, chocolate, ice cream, pasta, or pizza.
Emotions from the head
Anger, stress, and frustration are some of the typical head emotions, and are said to make us eat to let off steam, as if we were looking to “bite” something in our life. This makes us seek textured or crispy foods, and the individual will be ready to go to the store with the sole purpose of buying said foods. Trail mix, chips, cookies, and cereals are popular examples.
What to do?
Once you have identified the reason why you want to eat, try to reason with yourself. If you need to, write down your thoughts so that you can channel them.
Make a list of activities that you enjoy, such as reading, taking a bath, or a hobby that you like. If you suffer from solitude, consider signing up for activities at your local recreational center, or call someone who is close to you. If you need to let some steam off, consider releasing your negative emotions at the gym, or by taking a long walk.
To dig deeper into the subject, I suggest you read the book Life is Hard, Food is Easy: The 5-Step Plan to Overcome Emotional Eating and Lose Weight on Any Diet, by Linda Spangle, from which I got the inspiration to write this article!
By Marilyne Petitclerc