Let’s take a closer look at the term “emotional eating.”
It means that you’re using food to suppress or soothe strong or negative emotions, such as stress, anger, fear, boredom, sadness and loneliness. It can also be your response when you’re feeling excited, happy, or relaxed.
The bottom line is that an emotional state becomes strongly connected to the desire to eat. It could also include the complex interplay between the food’s flavor, texture, or smell, and that extra potent dopamine hit your brain delivers when detecting something sweet.
What we know for sure is that “emotional eating” is a common strategy for distracting yourself from whatever strong or unconformable emotion you’re feeling.
Eating to satisfy physical hunger is not emotional eating. Nobody I know has ever craved a caesar salad when they feel lonely. That pint of cherry chocolate chip ice cream seems like a much more enticing option.
How the mood-food cycle works.
Major life events or, more commonly, the hassles of daily life can trigger emotions that lead to emotional eating. These triggers might include:
- Relationship conflicts
- Work or other related stressors
- Financial pressures
- Health problems
- News reports/current events
Some people eat less in the face of emotional distress or upset, that’s me.
However, some of us turn to impulsive or binge eating, quickly consuming whatever is easiest to buy or grab without savoring and enjoying. Aaaah, the dopamine relief.
In fact, your emotions can become so tied to your eating habits that you automatically reach for food without thinking about what you’re doing.
Food can serve as a welcomed distraction.
If you’re worried about an upcoming event or stewing over a conflict, for instance, you may focus on eating comfort food instead of dealing with the uncomfortable situation.
Whatever emotions drive you to overeat, the end result is often the same. The dampening effect is temporary. Your emotions return. Along with the additional burden of guilt that you’ve set back your weight-loss goal.
This can also lead to an unhealthy cycle that looks like this: your emotions trigger you to overeat, you beat yourself up for “falling off the wagon”, you feel bad and you overeat again.
Emotional eating is a term that explains a constellation of behaviors.
Recognizing that you may be someone who engages in emotional eating behavior is absolutely not a judgment. It is truly just an observation and and may be a useful explanation for why you’ve been struggling with your weight.
When you don’t identify or really recognize emotional eating habits, you are diminishing your personal power over food, your body and your weight. You are undermining your progress toward your weight loss goal.
Reframe emotional eating as an opportunity to grow.
Consider recognizing that you’re an emotional eater is actually a gift.
It’s nothing to be ashamed of or embarrassed about or something that you feel like you need to hide.
There’s nothing wrong with you or your willpower because you do it. Everybody does it to some degree or another. The irony is that most of us just don’t know that we’re doing it.
You can grow your awareness around it. And when you grow your awareness, you will be open to learning how to manage your emotions. That’s when the real work of disconnecting them from the habit of emotional eating can begin.
Trying to convince yourself that you’re not an emotional eater has no upside.
Think of it as a valuable epiphany that can help your find greater peace and freedom in your relationship with food, your body and your weight.
Wear it like a badge of honor. Some day you’ll be able to say, “I just stopped eating for emotional reasons.” Now that’s the beginning of real freedom and peace around food, your body and your weight.
I want to offer that recognizing that you engage in emotional eating behavior is such an important, amazing realization. It’s the first step toward actually solving for the problem, separating the consumption that comes in through your mouth, from your emotional life.
The gift is the solution.
Recognizing that you do not feel peace and freedom around food, your body or your weight, that you somehow feel controlled by food or you think about it more often than you would like, you have to understand the emotional connection.
Recognizing that you emotionally eat opens the door toward that permanent solution that you’ve been looking for.
Ask yourself questions like these:
- What does it mean to be an emotional eater?
- What are the habits and behaviors of an emotional eater?
- Do I engage in those behaviors?
If you can see yourself in those answers, we can work together to connect you more intentionally to your emotional life and your relationship with food.
It’s never too late to lose weight successfully and I’m here to help.
Emotional eating is an all too common strategy women use to sooth and smooth their emotional states. Yet, we all know all to well that response can play havoc with your relationship to food, your body and your weight.
Let me help you incorporate effective weight loss approaches in alignment with metabolic science and neuroscience into your daily routine so you can take control now. That’s how to make permanent weight loss your reality!
Please take me up on my offer for your FREE Strategy Call so you can get started making positive changes today.
Making a few strategic shifts right now can be the first falling domino you need to make many more lasting changes.
Hey, my friend, it’s still totally possible to make 2022 your year to create the healthiest you. No matter your age, stage or past disappointments.
Jump start your fresh start. A year from now you will thank yourself because you reached out to me today.
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