My emotional eating tendencies are really weird. If I am really hurt and upset by something, I can’t eat a single thing. I try to force myself to eat something so that I don’t starve to death but I am usually disgusted by everything. My emotional eating usually stems from just being extremely bored or on my period. The only other time that I eat my feelings is when something feels completely out of my control and I just don’t want to think about it anymore. This is usually when I plan to eat something unhealthy for the sole purpose of trying to feel better. For me, this only happens about every other month, if that. When it does, I still don’t eat a ton, I just eat unhealthy.
Emotional eating doesn’t fix anything at all. The problem is still there and you can even feel worse after eating poorly. I know that I immediately regret the decision. One thing that helps me from stuffing all of the Cheetos in my face is finding something to do with my hands (other than putting food in my face). I usually try to clean my house or fold some laundry. You know, really exciting things that do not remind me of anything that may actually be happening in life. Other suggestions can include reading a book, exercising, or writing. I would avoid watching TV however because that is a task that invites food to the party. Also, depending on what you are watching, it can make you feel worse and enforce the idea to eat emotionally. Don’t watch Marley when your dog that you have had since you were 12 years old just died, trust me, it is a horrible idea.
Here are some common causes of emotional eating
- Stress – The stress hormone, cortisol, can be released when you are having a particularly tough day causing cravings for salty, sweet, and high-fat foods that can give a burst of energy and pleasure. The more uncontrollable the stress is, the more likely you are to use food as emotional relief.
- Stuffing emotions – Eating can temporarily “stuff down” uncomfortable emotions such as fear, sadness, anxiety, anger, loneliness, resentment, and shame. Numbing yourself with food helps you avoid those feelings in the moment.
- Boredom or feelings of emptiness – Food can occupy your mouth and your time. It fills you up and distracts you from underlying feelings of purposelessness and dissatisfaction with your life.
- Childhood habits – Rewarded for good report cards or behavior, being given sweets when you felt sad, or having you clear all of the food on your plate before you could leave the table.
- Social Influences – Getting together with friends for a meal to relieve stress. It can be easy to overeat or overindulge when in a group setting.
I don’t think all of the above are negative things, I do think they are fine in moderation as long as you have self-control. I can control it most of the time but if I am on my period or in a horrible mood I will definitely fall into one of the above categories and not even feel bad about it. Part of the reason I eat unhealthy when I am out to eat is because we couldn’t really afford to go out to eat when I was young. We would occasionally get to eat at Taco Bell but that was about it. Once I had my own money I could go do something I never really got to do before.
One thing you can do to try to avoid emotional eating is to pause in the moment that you get the urge. If you can put off emotional eating for 5 minutes there is a greater possibility of you not doing it. In that 5 minutes you allow yourself time to consider what you are doing. You also allow your mind to decide rather than automatically and mindlessly diving into the German chocolate cake.
The above information came from the Health Fitness Corporation and was a topic that we went over in my Weigh to Wellness course and I felt that it would be beneficial to share. This topic isn’t the most fun to discuss and I know many people struggle with it. Here are some meme’s that will hopefully bring some laughter to this post. Have a great Tuesday and Happy Veteran’s Day!
Happy Veteran’s Day to the best man I have ever known, my grandfather. He took on the roll of my dad who was never much involved in my life. I love this man more than I could ever express. (ignore my weird face and non-existent lips)