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What is Emotional Eating and how it can be stopped?

Emotional eating is when people use food as a way to deal with feelings instead of to satisfy hunger. Feelings like depression, boredom, loneliness, chronic anger, anxiety, frustration, stress, problems with interpersonal relationships and poor self-esteem can result in overeating and unwanted weight gain. Food also serves as a distraction.

Characteristics of Emotional Eating

– Emotional hunger can develop suddenly.
– Emotional eaters don’t listen to their bodies.
– Emotional hunger isn’t related to time.
– Emotional eating often leads to feelings of guilt and shame.
– Emotional eaters are not satisfied after they eat.
– Emotional eaters still feel empty after they’ve eaten.

There are some indications that would indicate that you are emotional eating:
– The hunger comes suddenly.
– The hunger you feel is urgent.
– You crave for certain foods and that does not include healthy foods,its more of unhealthy foods.
– The reason behind this hunger is an underlying emotion.
– You crave the taste of a certain food in you mouth or can’t stop thinking of a certain food. It is not related to the hunger that is located in your belly.
– It is an unconscious eating.
– You often feel guilty or ashamed after eating.
– Emotional eating is situational. Eating because the opportunity is there.
– Eating when around other people.

Developing alternatives to eating is the second step.
– Tame your stress.
– Keep a food diary.
– Go for a walk.
– Engage yourself in some other activity like take a bath, do deep breathing exercises, talk to a friend, write a letter.
– Don’t eat mindlessly in front of the tv.
– Don’t deprive yourself of foods you love – just don’t overdo it.
– Deal with your triggers.
– Plan nutritious meals and snacks.
– Get enough sleep.

1 comment to What is Emotional Eating and how it can be stopped?

  • Great article!
    another idea for having alternatives to eating is to have a list of easy distractions for yourself. This will buy you time and allow you to really decide if you are hungry and if you want to eat. Getting away from the food allows you to think clearly without being swayed by the sight and smell of something yummy. One trick, when you are in a restaurant, is to go to the restroom before you order. Look in the mirror and remind yourself that your goal is to eat from hunger and that will help you order well, and stop when you’ve had enough, no matter what everyone else is doing.

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