Overcome Emotional Eating
We do not always eat to satisfy hunger. Often times, we grab food when we are overwhelmed, sad, stressed, lonely or even bored rather than when we are physically hungry. This type of unhealthy coping behavior is called emotional eating. The initial feelings prior to eating often continue to exist afterwards and may even be accompanied by the feeling of guilt from unnecessarily overeating. Interestingly enough, these emotions exist in most individuals at some point in time. In fact, many of these emotions are indicators or signs of emotional needs that should be met or dealt with in a healthy manner. Though this habit of emotional eating feels especially difficult to overcome, it is possible to hardwire your habits to meet your emotional needs, and thus overcome your unhealthy coping behavior.
Here’s where to begin!
Identify triggers.Triggers differ person to person. It can be that you are upset over a relationship issue, you are overwhelmed by a work project or you feel bored when you are not busy after work. No matter the feelings you are having that urges you to grab food, simply begin to notice the emotions and why you have these feelings.Differentiate physical and emotional hunger cues.Your body needs calories to survive, which is why it lets you know when you need to eat. Unlike emotional hunger, physical hunger cues are not typically accompanied by sudden shifts in emotions. However, some common physical hunger cues include: low energy, stomach rumbling, feeling of emptiness in the stomach and in some cases nausea, lack of ability to concentrate, irritability, dizziness and headache. Choose a healthier coping habit.We are creatures of habit. However, just as you have picked up this bad habit, you can overcome it and replace it with something more positive. A few healthy coping mechanisms include regular moderate to intense cardiovascular exercise, keeping a journal, practicing breathing techniques or meditation, talking to a friend or trained mental health professional, picking up a hobby and so on.Related: CARDIO FOR STRESSA 2007 study on Restoration and stress relief through physical activities in forests and parks revealed a recovery ratio for stress of 87%, and the reduction in headaches of 52%.
Additional tips:Be patient. New habits take time to become old ones, so do not beat yourself up if you slip up a few times. Simply pick-up where you left off and work hard to take back control of your emotions.Do not keep extra food within reach. Buy and prepare only what you need to avoid unwanted overeating. Acknowledge your emotions. A vast majority of individuals struggle with emotional eating due to avoidance and unhealthy coping skills. Notice your feelings without judgement and do the hard work to deal with them in a healthy way. A volcano CAN explode!Are you struggling with mental or emotional health and need help? Click HERE to learn more about the Wellview services available to you. We can’t wait to work with you!
– CASEY EDMONDS, CHC
Health Advisor | Email Casey