There are two reasons for eating, physical and emotional. Physical hunger, which is valid for everyone, is eliminated and life is continued. On the other hand, some people may turn to food to relax, relieve stress, or reward themselves. They often tend to reach for junk food, sweets, and other comforting but unhealthy foods for this type of emotional eating. Briefly emotional food is to use food to feel better. Unfortunately, emotional eating does not fix emotional problems. It usually feels even worse. This is because in addition to the issue that is giving you emotional distress, it adds an additional negative emotion, such as feeling guilty about overeating.
So, are you an emotional eater?
For this, you can ask yourself the following questions;
Do you eat more when you feel stressed?
-Do you eat when you are not hungry or full?
-Do you eat to feel better? (for example, to calm and soothe yourself when you feel sad, angry, bored, anxious, etc.)
Do you reward yourself with food?
-Does the food make you feel safe?
-Do you think food is friends?
Do you feel powerless or out of control around food?
If your answer to most of the above questions is yes, you may have an emotional eating problem.
The most common causes of emotional eating are;
Stress. When stress is chronic, your body produces high levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol triggers cravings for foods that give you a burst of energy and pleasure, such as salty, sweet, and fried foods. The intensity of stress in your life makes you more likely to turn to food for emotional relief.
Filling the emotions. Eating can be a way to temporarily silence or “fill” disturbing emotions such as anger, fear, sadness, anxiety, loneliness, resentment, and shame. By numbing yourself with food, you can avoid difficult emotions you don’t want to feel.
Boredom or feelings of emptiness. Have you used food as a solution to just being doing something, to ease boredom, or to fill the void in your life? It is a way to fill your mealtime. Right now, it may be filling you up and suppressing feelings of purposelessness and dissatisfaction in your life.
Childhood habits. Rethink your childhood food memories. Did your parents reward your good behavior with ice cream, take you to a fast-food meal when you got a good report card, or cheer you up with dessert when you were sad? These habits can often pass into adulthood.
You can try methods that can help stop emotional eating:
Keep a food diary. Write down what you ate, how much you ate, when you ate, how you felt while eating, and how hungry you were. Over time, you can see patterns that reveal the connection between mood and food. This will help you increase your awareness and control over emotional eating.
Reduce your stress.If stress is contributing to your emotional eating, try some stress management techniques like yoga, meditation, or deep breathing.
Check to see if your hunger is real. Is your hunger physical or emotional? If you’ve only eaten a few hours ago and your stomach isn’t making noise, you’re probably not hungry. Give yourself time for the request to pass. Try to divert your attention to other things.
To get support. If you don’t have a good support network, you are more prone to emotional eating. Talk about your problems with your family and friends. Share the issues that are troubling you.
Fight adversity . Instead of snacking when you’re not hungry, switch to a healthier behavior. Take a walk, watch a movie, or call a friend.