If you find yourself munching instead of crying or chomping when you should be cleaning the kitchen, you may have developed the habit of emotional eating as a way to cope with the stresses of everyday life. Emotional eating is a habit, a learned response to emotional triggers that can be unlearned.
What exactly is emotional eating?
Emotional eating is the habit of eating or not eating in response to an emotional trigger, rather than eating only when hungry or for pleasure. Emotional eaters feel at the mercy of the pantry; they feel out of control of their eating habits. Not all emotional eaters are overweight; in fact some emotional eaters respond to certain cues by not eating. Likewise, not all emotional triggers are negative emotions. Some emotional eaters respond to positive emotions with the desire to celebrate through overeating or not eating at all. Emotional eating is considered an unhealthy habit since it can lead to obesity or malnutrition, depending on the severity of the habit and the specific relationship of food to emotions.
Signs of emotional eating
You may be an emotional overeater or eater if you find yourself doing the following things:
Why do some people overeat and some people starve themselves in response to the same emotional triggers?
How you respond to emotional issues is an individual as your preferences and likes and dislikes. Every person is emotionally unique, and your ways of coping with stress, discomfort, pain, loss, joy and accomplishment is different than every other person. When your responses to emotions lead to unhealthy eating habits, you need to find ways to reform your coping strategies.
Tips for overcoming emotional eating
Your goal is to establish a healthy relationship with food, where eating is emotionally linked to nourishing your body and enjoying that nourishment without overindulging or punishing your body by withholding needed calories and nutrients. The following are suggestions for overcoming emotional eating habits:
What should you do if you can't beat emotional eating on your own?
ome people can't overcome emotional eating on their own. If you feel like your eating habits are out of control, consider joining a support group, going to your doctor for help, or enlisting the help of a trusted friend or relative.
A daily or weekly food diary can be used for other purposes that mere caloric intake. One of the other uses for food diary forms is to check for food intolerances and allergies.