If you are having one of those days where nothing seems to go right and all you want is something to make you feel better, what do you reach for? Are you reaching for food? If so, is that bag of chips really making you feel better?
“I had a long day and the only thing that will make me feel better is my favorite junk food!”
Does this sound like something you would say? I have many clients that come to me seeking help in dealing with their emotional eating. They find themselves eating when they are stressed, upset or bored, and they don’t feel satisfied afterwards. In fact, they feel guilty, ashamed and desperate.
I help my clients to realize they will not feel satisfied when they are feeding their emotions.
I want to help you understand this too.
Emotional eating is eating in response to feelings, not because you are physically hungry.
Eating away your emotions may make you feel better for an instant, but when the bag is empty you’re left with the same feelings of guilt, the discomfort of overeating, plus those original emotions you had in the first place.
Whether you are eating as a way to reward yourself for a job well done or trying to make yourself feel better after a rough day, this form of emotional eating can affect your mood and health long after the bag is empty.
To identify if you are emotionally eating, you should figure out what is driving your desire to eat. Are you experiencing physical hunger or psychological hunger?
Ask yourself the following questions:
- “How am I feeling? Am I upset, angry, tired or even happy? Could this be causing me to crave a certain food?”
- “Do I usually use food for comfort?”
- “Do I associate rewards with food?” Maybe you just received a promotion, is your first thought “I’ll celebrate with dessert tonight?”
- “When was the last time I ate?” Natural hunger cues start to occur a couple of hours after you last ate. If you just ate, you might not be experiencing physical hunger.
These habits can be hard to break and you will need to dig deep inside of you to figure out what you are truly feeling. This isn’t always easy as sometimes it’s uncomfortable to feel your emotions. I get it.
One way to deal with your emotions without food is to distract yourself.
Here are some tips you can try today to help you regain control over your emotions:
- Go for a walk to get endorphins going and help you clear your mind.
- Do yoga or meditation to clear your mind and help you relax.
- Call or text a friend to talk about your day or vent, if needed.
- Watch your favorite show for a good laugh.
- Read a book to get someone else’s point of view.
- Take a nap to regain energy.
- Write how you are feeling in a journal.
Distractions may work for a short time. Ultimately you must dig deeper to understand why you turn to food in hard times.
I am here to help you. I can help you work out your emotions and teach you ways to deal with them that do not involve food. I can teach you to listen to your body’s hunger cues and eat only when you are experiencing physical hunger. Take care of yourself by being in tune with your emotions. Dealing with them now instead of letting them build up will benefit you and your overall health.
Contact me here if you’d like to chat.