How To Recognize and Prevent Emotional Eating
When you eat in response to your feelings, not hunger, you are emotional eating. 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 a common problem for both men and women. Finding solutions for emotional eating can be extremely difficult. Simply, recognizing that you are emotionally eating is a huge first step.
There is a distinct difference between emotional hunger and physical hunger. True physical hunger is the feeling you experience in your stomach. You may have hunger pains or your stomach may be growling. Emotional hunger stems from the emotions you are feeling. In these cases you aren’t physically hungry but the mind has convinced you that you are hungry. Often emotional hunger leads to overeating because you have no indication of being full.
Combating the Cravings
Foods like chocolate cause a release of endorphins which make you feel good. So, when you are having a difficult day emotionally, or your bodys endorphin levels get low, you will begin to crave foods like chocolate and fatty foods. You may even feel anxiety and/or pain as your body believes that it needs these foods.
Never skip a meal. Skipping meals is counterproductive to weight loss and to curbing your cravings. You can reduce your calorie intake but do not skip meals. Allow yourself small portions of comfort foods. Attempting to give up all your favorite comfort foods instantly will create an obsession and will set yourself up for failure.
Create a Plan
Emotional eating is a way to avoid your feelings. Therefore, its essential to find ways to cope with your feelings and make a plan. Perhaps doing something you enjoy, a hobby, or even stopping to take some deep breaths. Just have a plan of what you will do when these emotions hit so you will know how to combat them.
Deal with your Emotions
Ultimately, you need to deal with the underlying emotions. Try writing in a journal. Volunteer to help a local organization. Talk to someone close to you about your feelings. Consider seeking medical help, especially if you have a family history, or if you have been struggling with these emotions for a long time.
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