Causes of Emotional Eating and What You Can Do To Prevent It
Emotional eating is a common problem. It affects both men and women equally. It does not discriminate against race, nationality, religious preference, or even age. Anyone can struggle with emotional eating. When you eat in response to your feelings, not hunger, you are emotional eating. Usually, emotional eating involves eating comfort or junk foods in an attempt to avoid your feelings. These feelings may be of depression, boredom, loneliness, stress, or anxiety, to name a few. Or they might be as a result of relationship problems, or due to poor self-esteem. Regardless of the feeling involved emotional eating is the minds way of suppressing the overwhelming feeling. Unfortunately, it can sabotage your weight loss efforts. The solution to the problem becomes twofold: recognition, and prevention.
There is a distinct difference between emotional hunger and physical hunger. However, people often dont recognize the difference because they are distracted. If you’re busy watching television or working on your lap top you might not recognize why you are hungry. When you do feel hungry take a minute to stop and think. What is triggering this feeling?
True physical hunger is the feeling you experience in your stomach. You may have hunger pains or your stomach may be growling. These feelings tend to grow as more time passes. You may also begin to feel tired, moody, light-headed, or even find it difficult to focus on other tasks. These are all signs of a true physical hunger.
Emotional hunger stems from the emotions you are feeling and can be triggered by stress, sadness, loneliness, boredom, and even happiness. In these cases you aren’t physically hungry but the mind has convinced you need to eat. Often emotional hunger leads to overeating, or eating less healthy comfort foods.
Since emotional eating is a way to avoid your feelings, its essential to find ways to cope with them. Perhaps doing something you enjoy, a hobby, or even stopping to take some deep breaths. Have a plan so you will know how to combat or even deal with these feelings when they arise.
Ultimately, you need to deal with the underlying emotions. Try writing in a journal, volunteer, or talk to someone close to you. Consider seeking medical help, especially if you have a family history, or if you have been struggling for a long time.
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