Here’s the most important point when it comes to emotional eating…
It’s NOT about the food you’re eating. It’s not even about how much you’re eating.
What is emotional eating
It’s about your emotions. How you feel before you eat… how you’re feeling while you eat… and how you feel after you eat.
Millions of men and women eat emotionally and they don’t even realize it. If you’re bored at home and just walk over to the refrigerator to see what’s inside, you’re probably going to emotionally eat.
In this case, you’re fighting off boredom. Your desire for desires is not met – so you’re just eating something to pass the time and feel good. Oftentimes, you WILL feel good because the food you eat will be high in sugar which gives you a sugar high.
After a while, the sugar high will crash and you’ll feel worse off than you were before. So what do you do? You get up and walk to the refrigerator again.
The pitfall of emotional eating
This vicious cycle is played out millions of times a day all over the world. People eat when they’re sad, bored, angry, and every other emotion in-between.
While it’s fine to celebrate a victory by having a dinner and drinks, to some extent this is emotional eating too. You’re happy and food/alcohol makes you happier. This is ok because it’s only an occasional thing.
What’s dangerous is resorting to eating when you’re feeling stress and negative emotions. Instead of finding ways to de-stress and/or remedy your problems, turning to food to medicate yourself is highly insidious.
It causes food cravings, food addictions, eating disorders and many other problems.
It’s not about the food but your emotions
By now you’ll realize what was mentioned earlier – it’s NOT about the food.
It’s about how you feel. To fix emotional eating, you’ll need to self-reflect and understand why you’re eating.
If you’re bored – you’ll need new activities to occupy your time. Usually activities like watching TV, which is very passive, can lead to emotional eating. On the other hand, taking a walk or a trip to the beach will help you feel better and you’ll not end up eating unnecessarily.
If you’re stressed out, you could try journaling or meditation. Once again, it all depends on what exactly is stressing you out. Is it the commitments at work? Are you a full-time mother who is trying to give so much to her family that she has no time for herself?
Or perhaps the bills piling up and you’re struggling to pay? Are you getting over a relationship break up or is your marriage on the rocks? Or is your spouse having an affair?
Emotional eating does not solve your problems
There are literally thousands of different problems that affect millions of people – but the ones mentioned above are the most common, and they all have one thing in common – they cannot be solved by food.
No amount of eating will make these problems go away. Instead, you’ll end up feeling guilt and other negative emotions as you gain weight and your health is less than optimal because your body is being fed with junk food.
The usual cycle is something like this…
- You’re facing some negative emotion initially (boredom, sadness, etc.)
- You emotionally eat and feel happy during the process and for an hour or two after that.
- About 3 or 4 hours later, you feel worse because you know you ate something you shouldn’t have. The old problems and negative emotions you’re facing are still there, and nothing has changed except that you consumed more calories… and are probably getting fatter and more unhealthy, which are new problems you have to deal with.
The key to stopping emotional eating
The key to ending emotional eating is to be proactive at stage 1 when you’re facing negative emotions. See how you can fix them without turning to food.
Once you do this regularly, you’ll be much less likely to eat emotionally. You just need to be mindful of what you’re feeling and when you’re using food for therapy.
This is emotional eating in a nutshell.