What is Emotional Eating?

Emotional eating is expressed as an eating behavior tendency that occurs in response to certain emotional states. Emotional eating behavior often occurs as a result of feeling stress, anxiety, fear, boredom, sadness, loneliness, or feelings of inadequacy. When the desire to suppress negative emotions and the eating behavior collide, the desire to eat occurs in order to feel powerful or to forget. It is possible to observe the eating behavior as a way of coping with the intense emotion experienced in the problem of stress or sudden unexpected events brought about by daily life events. In the past, emotional eating was associated with individuals who exhibited excessive eating behavior, but nowadays it is suggested that emotional eating behavior may also occur in dieters. (Maggard, Shugarman, Suttorp, Maglione,2015)

There are many factors that affect eating behavior. However, it is difficult to predict how emotions affect eating. Depending on the state of emotions or the characteristics of the individual, the relationship between eating and emotions may vary. The symptoms of physical hunger and emotional hunger are different from each other. In the case of physical hunger, the individual’s stomach may be scratched, sour, and blood sugar may drop. The individual reaches saturation as he eats. Hunger relieving behavior is different from an individual with emotional eating behavior. For example, the individual eats fruits, vegetables, etc. You can satisfy your hunger with a low-energy food or snack, such as Physical hunger develops gradually. When the person eats because he is hungry, the options are more and more qualified. That is, it is a meal that includes vegetables, meat, chicken or fish, soup, rice or pasta, yogurt.

Emotional hunger is the opposite. Emotional hunger starts suddenly and does not give any physical symptoms. The individual eats whatever he finds and prefers foods with high energy value (Sevinçer, Konuk, 2013). Emotional hunger is a state that needs to be satisfied immediately. But physical hunger can wait. If he eats to satisfy an emotional need even though his stomach is full, he will likely continue to eat. But if he eats because he is hungry, he will stop when he is full. Emotional eating syndrome leaves a feeling of guilt in its wake. It does not leave physical hunger.

Reasons for emotional eating;

-Loneliness, need for attention and love, getting rid of negative emotions.

Overeating caused by positive emotions. (celebrations)

When we feel bad, we give ourselves to eat to get rid of negative emotions. Then, in every negative emotion, we resort to eating to get rid of that emotion, and thus we fall into a vicious circle.

-The feeling of positive emotion that comes after a rewarding meal, such as celebrations, prompts the person to eat in order to experience that feeling again after a while.

What you really need to discover about yourself is what you thought and felt before the moment you suddenly found yourself in the food. Because those thoughts and feelings lead you to the next stage, namely the eating behavior. Another important point is; what you substitute for food. However, psychological problems such as chronic stress, depression, panic attacks, and eating disorders may lie on the basis of some emotional eating attacks.

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