Emotional eating is a common problem but one which is considered by many people as a weakness so is not openly discussed on a regular basis.
People who emotionally eat may be ashamed or may not even realize they are eating only due to emotional issues. This can lead to a continual pattern of overeating, gain and depression.
For this reason emotional eating should be dealt with head on and not hidden away.
Emotional eating can halt any loss efforts. If indeed you are trying to lose yet are still eating due to emotions then that problem must be dealt with before a serious loss plan can be followed.
What exactly is emotional eating?
Emotional eating refers to using food as a comfort mechanism. Most commonly this is during depression or stress but can also be seen simply from boredom.
People have a great desire for food, however emotional eaters use food to replace other things that may be missing from their life, or simply to reduce stress.
In reality, comfort eating only compounds existing problems due to the fact that is gained. This downward spiral can be difficult to break.
What types of foods are used as comfort foods?
The most common foods consumed during emotional eating include fatty foods like fries and burgers, chocolate, ice cream and other unhealthy snacks.
It is not common that we would have a bowl of vegetables or a fruit salad as a comfort food, usually a comfort food is higher in heavy carbs and fats, Like that carton of ice cream in the picture above.
For emotional eaters, food makes them feel better only during the time they are eating, but then the depression and other emotions set in again, leading to a rapid decline into regular comfort eating and in some cases, serious eating disorders such as bulimia.
How to Deal with Emotional Eating
The first step to eliminating emotional eating is to identify why it is happening in the first place. What are the triggers, and how can they be avoided?
Secondly you need to learn to recognize hunger signs. Usually people are not hungry when they emotionally eat.
The third step is of course to stop buying or comfort foods and unhealthy snacks. If you are home and there are no foods to eat that you generally eat for emotional reasons then you are unlikely to pursue it enough to go and buy something on each occasion.
Lastly, staying occupied and keeping busy is the best way to stop emotionally eating. Find something meaningful in life to commit yourself to and you will discover that emotional eating will take a back seat to more important things in life.