Everything You Need to Know About Emotional Eating

Updated: Jul 8

In life, everyone goes through tough times, including the rich. When certain tragedies and trials come upon us, we tend to seek out various coping mechanisms to handle the stress and emotional downturn.

For some, alcohol does it. Still, others turn to books, sleep, or seclusion. But, for many, food is the answer.

The symptoms are clear; you find yourself seeking out food to soothe the emotional crease, and it has become your go-to stress coping mechanism.

If you fall into this category, or you know someone that does, then you won't be surprised to know that they often feel shame and guilt after indulging. But, they're often unable to break the cycle, and further complications often ensue; e.g weight gain.

Emotional Eater

Why do people find emotional solace in food?

Many things can cause a person to turn to food to cope with difficulty. And, any difficulty can bring about the situation. A job loss, painful transition, and chronic debt are typical problems that can cause great psychological difficulty and result in emotional eating.

Food is one of the more common coping mechanisms for times like these and is a major factor in the dynamic discussed in the section below.

When does regular eating become emotional eating?

It can be hard to know exactly when an eating disorder has set in.

When you feel hungry, the gut sends signals to the brain that are interpreted as "hunger". And the brain, in turn, instructs the body to create "pangs" which you then feel as hunger.

Here, you eat in measured amounts, with some extra range allowance for tastes, rate of physical exertion, or resting periods.

Also, normal eaters tend to feel a feeling of fullness after eating and will stop altogether till the next time they feel hungry.

On the other hand, emotional eaters exercise less control over their eating habits and feel guilty after indulging. More often than not, developing an eating disorder means that they're less likely to eat in public and can develop weight gain problems.

How can you stop emotional eating?

Emotional eating is impulsive, and can only be stopped through deliverable and stern self-caution.

Depending on how far deep into the emotional eating phase a person is, the return journey is often difficult.

Here are some ways to help:

Combat boredom

When you're lying idle and bored, unable to focus on important things, you may stress eat.

By keeping your mind and body active, you can avoid the boredom that leads to emotional eating.

Eat healthy snacks

If you want to explore something outside of your regular diet by way of snacks, stick to the healthy ones.

This controlled eating means you won't be consuming too many calories.

Acceptance and resolution

If you've observed that you're struggling with emotional and stress eating, the first step to getting back on track is accepting it.

The symptoms are obvious, and if you fit the bill, you have to first accept the reality before you can effectively resolve it to help yourself overcome it.

Know when you're truly hungry and when you're not

Learn to distinguish the feelings of true hunger from the stirrings and desire to stress eat.

Remember the symptoms of emotional eating and identify the moods and scenarios that precede your habit. Then, differentiate them from the natural pangs of hunger.

Eating Order Dietician

Seek professional help

Lyn Weight Nutritional Counseling is an experienced dietician with years of experience in managing and recommending solutions to emotional eating and other dieting issues.

If you're struggling and need help, you can contact us today to get access to professional consulting services.

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