It is normal to eat from time to time for emotional reasons. Everybody has celebrated with food before. That’s what birthday parties, Christmas dinners, and barbecues on SuperBowl Sunday and July 4th do. But emotional eating can become a severe problem when it leads to harmful emotional and physical imbalances in our lives.
Frequent emotional eating can quickly become a destructive cycle. Emotional eating is rooted in the lives of people who suffer when they use food to regulate their moods, cope with stress, or overcome feelings of anxiety or boredom.
This type of behavior can easily lead emotional eaters to become overweight or obese because many of them are hungry most of the time.” Satisfying” this insatiable hunger with food, many emotional eaters consume many more calories than their bodies need and they gain a lot of weight, which becomes extremely difficult, if not impossible, to lose.
Common Signs of Emotional Eating
Here are some common signs of emotional eating:
Eating during times of strong emotions, such as anger or depression.
Eating when you are not physically hungry.
Eating when you are bored.
Eat immediately after going home from work.
Feelings of disgust, depression, or guilt after overeating.
Eating alone because of discomfort from the amount or type of food consumed.
Eat until you feel uncomfortable.
Recognize Emotional Hunger
Recognizing emotional hunger is one of the keys to overcoming or avoiding eating frequently for emotional reasons.
Here Are Some of the Characteristics of Emotional Hunger:
Emotional hunger comes on suddenly.
One minute you’re not hungry at all, and the next minute you’re hungry.
Emotional hunger often manifests itself by craving for a specific food, such as pizza, candy, or a cheeseburger.
An unpleasant emotion often accompanies emotional hunger.
Emotional hunger begins in the mouth and mind, not in the stomach.
Emotional hunger is not satisfied when you are full.
Emotional hunger involves automatic or distracted feeding.
Emotional hunger makes you feel guilty.
Facts about Anxiety and Emotional Feeding
– Symptoms of anxiety are often present during emotional eating.
– It may also be present in cases of high and low blood glucose levels.
– Fluctuations in blood glucose levels exacerbate emotional reactions, making a person more likely to eat according to their emotions.
– Most anxiety is caused by fear – dig deep and find out what you are afraid of. It may be something you are not aware of, so see a counselor help you find out what it is.
Caffeine, sugar, and alcohol increase the level of lactic acid in the blood. A high accumulation of lactic acid in the body can increase anxiety and cause panic attacks.
– Too high or too low a blood sugar level can also make us anxious – it can increase emotional reactions and cause cravings that will lead us to eat more foods that raise blood sugar levels, making us more prone to emotional ups and downs panic attacks.
After confirming that you eat due to emotional states, you will have to take steps to correct your behavior.
Have Healthy Distractions
If you are looking for a cookie, find other activities to do. The answer could be walking, kickboxing, or dancing. You may even have less demanding hobbies, like working with needles or crochet. The idea is to keep your body moving. In time, you may not need to overeat.
Identify Your Triggers
You can identify where, when, and how you ate in excess. With this information in hand, you will learn to redirect your behavior towards healthier activities.
Search for Support
Another useful technique is to develop a support network to help you fight emotional feeding. It can be your spouse, children, parents, or friends. You may even consider joining a support group that specializes in this topic. If you feel like overeating, contact a member of your network. Talking about your feelings can give you the emotional release you need.
If your anxiety or depression persists, consider seeing a psychotherapist. The specialists will help you develop effective mechanisms to deal with your problem.