Eating is one of the most common ways that people handle their emotions. Break-ups call for gallons of Ben and Jerry’s and huge exams might ignite an immense need for three servings of pizza rolls; it’s totally normal. However, many people find that they’re constantly eating their emotions, not just at times of high stress or sadness.
Many people claim that the cure to emotional eating is just an increase in will power. Even though this sounds simple enough, it really isn’t all that easy to do. For emotional eaters, traditional diets don’t typically work and drive them into feeding frenzies that they find themselves unable to control.
The biggest problem that emotional eaters have is recognizing the fact they are emotional eaters in the first place. Being able to identify the signs of emotional eating is the first step to stopping.
Eating When You Aren’t Hungry
Growls and grumbles are our body’s way of telling us that we are in physical need of nourishment. The times when our bodies are not giving us hunger cues, but we still want to eat, are episodes of emotional eating.
People eat without being hungry for a number of reasons. The most common reason is to fill a void that they are feeling. Whether they are lonely, bored or feeling generally lethargic, their mind tells them that eating will help to fill their void.
You Keep What You Eat a Secret
A lot of emotional eaters have a feeling that there is something “wrong” with them or that their eating habits are in some way abnormal and make them a freak. Due to this feeling, they often make it a point to eat only in private or to only eat certain food in front of other people.
You Are Unhappy With Your Body
Plenty of people are unhappy with their bodies and not all of them are emotional eaters. The difference between the two forms of discontent is where the blame is placed. Emotional eaters are typically consuming more food than their body requires.
Every aspect of their body that they are not satisfied with is blamed on their addiction to eating. This leads to a lot of self-criticism in front of the mirror. It is easy for emotional eaters to consider themselves to be weak or a failure and tear themselves down when they deem their bodies unacceptable.
You Feel Guilty After Eating
It is common for emotional eaters to feel forbidden to eat something, but they still end up eating it. This makes it hard to enjoy a lot of food. Each spoonful of ice cream will cause you to hate yourself a little more and each bite of cake will create even more intense feelings of guilt and regret.
While reading this, if you were able to pick up on many parallels to your own life and your own eating habits, you could be an emotional eater. This might sound scary or make you feel like a freak, but do not fret–there are ways to deal.
According to Sarah Jenks, founder of LiveMoreWeighLess.com, the key to defeating emotional eating is simple: have more fun.
Having more fun means that you are more entertained and are generally happier with your life. Having a fuller schedule leads to less eating out of boredom and surrounding yourself with friends eliminates eating due to feelings of loneliness.
Emotional eating can be a truly burdensome aspect of your life, but it doesn’t have to be. Pay attention to why you eat and when. Try to eat only when your body wants you to and try to create an all around fuller life to combat feelings that trigger an emotional need for food.