Gone are the days that people would eat only to fill their stomachs. This is especially true nowadays when we have the varieties in culinary concoctions and junk food available to us. Today we have the luxury of storing food than what we would need for just a day or two. All thanks to freezers, refrigerators and family size packs of just about everything. Eating is no longer just a response to hunger.
First off, let’s define emotional eating. Emotional eating is usually the excess consumption of food (usually junk food) in response to feelings instead of hunger. Research suggests that almost 75% of overeating is due to emotional eating. Needless to say, this can be a real problem for those who are overweight or are trying to lose weight.
Often, we resort to food in response to problems as we think the food is comforting, particularly at the moment. This can be habit forming and prevent us from learning to appropriately deal with our problems and resolve them effectively. People turn to food when experiencing so many different issues such as depression, loneliness, stress, frustration, interpersonal problems, even boredom. This can lead to undesired weight gain.
When we identify the triggers to our emotional eating, we can try to manage and resolve in more appropriate ways.
What Are Your Eating Triggers?
There are five main types of situations or emotions that cause us to eat:
- We eat as an emotional response to cope with negative feelings like depression or anxiety.
- We eat more in the company. Sometimes our friends, hosts, or relatives can urge us to eat more and enjoy the food. But often, we just lose track of how much we are eating because we are engaged with others or arguing.
- This is where we eat purely because an opportunity arises. For example, we pass by a cafe or see an ad for a particular food that we enjoy to eat. This motivates to develop a feel like having it, though you are not hungry. We also have certain associations in our mind that compel us to eat when there is no need. Like for example, popcorns at the movies, or hot dogs and beer at the ball game.
- When we eat as a result of negative self-talk. We make excuses to eat based on things that we tell ourselves like we are unworthy, etc.
- Finally, we eat to resolve the physiological problems to compensate for excessive hunger from having skipped a meal.
The best way to identify what causes you to eat excessively is to keep a record of everything you eat. On that daily basis along with the situation that motivates eating. It can whether routine mealtime or certain thoughts, situations or emotions that lead you to eat, especially junk food. You might soon notice a pattern to your excessive eating.
How To Stop Emotional Eating?
Once you recognize your pattern of emotional eating, you can start to undo it. Moreover, develop alternate ways of dealing with those emotions that urge you to eat unnecessarily and unhealthily and gain weight. Make a list of alternate activities that you can substitute for eating in response to any of your triggers.
Here are a few suggestions:
- Call a friend and chat for a while
- Do some deep breathing or meditation
- Read an engaging book
- Go out for a jog or brisk walk or workout
- Complete a few household chores like laundry or gardening
- Do some other fun and engaging activity until the compulsion to eat passes
Additional Tips For Emotional Eating
A distraction works to get away from unnecessary eating, but if there are deep-rooted issues, distractions may not be enough.
Another way you can try to better cope with your emotional issues is weight loss supplements. They can speed up the process of losing weight by suppressing your appetite. But you need to be regular to make this all happen. You need to be dedicated and persistent when it comes to weight loss.
Once you start to learn alternative and healthy ways to cope rather than stuffing, be sure to reward your efforts. This will further motivate you to stick to your weight loss goals and see results. It will also reinforce the progress you made and maintain your healthy habits.