What is Emotional Eating | How to Stop Negative Habits
All of us sometimes turn to food for comfort when we feel stressed and overwhelmed. How many times have you used food to make yourself feel better emotionally?
Emotional eating doesn’t involve physical hunger but reaching for food in response to negative emotions. Sometimes, when something upsetting happens to us, we turn to food for relief and eat more than we know we are supposed to. This causes us to feel guilty for overeating.
However, out-of-control eating doesn’t solve your emotional problems. It makes them only worse because it adds the feelings of guilt and shame for excessive eating to your existing issues.
What Causes Emotional Eating?
While occasionally using food as comfort is not necessarily harmful, when you use food as your coping strategy, you only make things worse – you get trapped with unhealthy coping strategies, without acknowledging the disturbing emotions or addressing the problem.
Stress is one of the most common causes of emotional eating. Many people experienced hunger when they feel stressed. This is because stress causes our bodies to produce cortisol, the stress hormone. Cortisol makes you crave foods that upsurge energy such as sweet, fried, and salty foods. So, when you experience ongoing stress, you are more likely to turn to food for emotional comfort.
We may also reach out for emotional eating when we don’t know how to handle or express intense emotions such as anger, sadness, loneliness, or fear. Many people try to suppress these powerful negative feelings by knocking themselves out with excessive amounts of food.
We may also engage in emotional eating when we feel nervous, bored, hopeless, or unhappy. Unfortunately, overeating doesn’t make these negative emotions go away. Emotional eating only escalates your problem. You may become sad about helplessness to control your weight and your powerlessness over your feelings.
However, you can learn strategies to cope with your emotions and stop the negative eating habits.
How to Put an End to Negative Eating Habits?
The first step in overcoming emotional eating is recognizing the triggers that make you feel so bad. These may involve places, situations, people, emotions, or thoughts that we find disturbing.
Journaling can be a great strategy to identify these triggers and keep track of patterns behind emotional eating. Once you identify emotional triggers for out-of-control eating, you’ll feel empowered to find healthy strategies for managing your emotions.
Writing down your thoughts and emotions without auto-censuring them is an excellent way to make connections between your thoughts, feelings, and behavior.
Journaling allows you to get in touch with your subconscious mind, increasing the awareness of your negative self-talk and hurtful feelings. Emotional eating may cause you to beat yourself up for not having the willpower to say no to food. Journaling can help you recognize these self-critical thoughts and let go of self-judgment.
Emotional eating doesn’t solve personal issues. Learning to accept your feelings instead of suppressing them. Try practicing mindfulness to become more aware of your emotions and learn how to stay connected to your existing emotional experience. This can boost your resilience and help solve problems that trigger negative eating habits.
Many times coaching can help work through those emotions that have been numbed out through emotional eating. If you would like to speak more about what is happening for you, feel free to a book a time at www.chatwithkamini.com