Emotional Eating and How to Stop it Fast!
How to Deal With Emotional Eating
What is Emotional Eating?
Emotional eating refers to a situation where an individual turns to food in an attempt to cope, monitor or control boredom, loneliness or negative thoughts, rather than to satisfy their physical hunger. Binge eating is a global problem affecting millions of people across the world.
Emotional eating starts with the usual ice cream, popcorn, soft drinks, chocolate, crisps, pizza or fries, usually after a stressful experience. While eating such foods in small doses, occasionally, should do no harm, things can easily get out of hand because emotional eating can result in overeating.
Emotional eating patterns can lead to obesity, type 2 diabetes, breathing complications, poor self-esteem, cancer, weak immune system, dysfunctional patterns, digestion complications, inflammation, mobility issues and heart-related complications. The secret to avoiding such chronic health complications is by vowing to beat emotional eating at all costs.
What Causes Emotional Eating Disorder?
Why do I have an emotional eating disorder? Well, emotional eating is a somewhat complex subject, which can arise from various potential risk factors. These include:
Psychological risk factors
Emotional eating disorders can be caused by psychological factors such as depression, negative emotionality, anxiety, stress, neuroticism, loneliness, low self-esteem, perfectionism, feelings of inadequacy, sadness, guilt, boredom, shame, anger and lack of confidence. People experiencing psychological complications are more likely to find pleasure in food. In reality, binge eaters lose control of their crazy food cravings. Consequently, they develop a habit of eating all the time to cope with their emotions.
Why is Food so Comforting? Well, the answer is simple. When you feel stressed, it triggers the release of a stress hormone called cortisol in your body. Subsequently, cortisol makes you have fat, sugar or carbohydrate food cravings. Food becomes soothing and comforting due to the extensive chemical changes it causes in your body.
Biological risk factors
Biological complications are major contributors of emotional eating. The human nervous system is designed to transmit electric signals via the nerves and brain when hunger strikes. When you are hungry, your brain releases neurotransmitter chemicals such as norepinephrine, dopamine and serotonin. Researchers have found that when the hypothalamus develops complications, it sends false signals to the brain leading to emotional eating. According to research, there is enough evidence that low serotonin in the brain causes emotional eating.
Social-cultural influences are significant contributors of emotional eating disorders. Some professions such as wrestling, rugby, gymnastics, swimming, athletics and modelling require certain body sizes, shapes and weight. People engaging in such occupations are at increased risks of developing emotional eating habits more so due to physical dissatisfaction.
The above said, individuals who fail to establish the required shape, size or weight are more likely to develop low self-esteem, lack confidence and suffer from depression, stress or anxiety, any of which can result in emotional eating. On the other hand, social media platforms promote eating disorders indirectly. Some people try to emulate their social media platform idol’s perfect body shape, size or weight through eating. Gradually, it becomes arduous to overcome emotional eating.
Some people develop emotional eating due to interpersonal factors. It is easy for individuals who have encountered troubled personal relationships, emotional, sexual or physical abuse experiences to use food to comfort themselves. Being exposed to ridicules, criticism, teasing and nasty comments about your weight, body, speech or ability can push you into emotional eating.
There are millions of people from all walks of the earth who are struggling to break emotional eating habits linked to their childhood conditioning. Emotional eating can be triggered by your positive childhood memories of home-cooked macaroni, home -baked cookies, spaghetti, chicken or turkey among other foods.
Emotional Eating Disorder Symptoms
Overeating is acceptable but only when it doesn’t happen so regularly. It only becomes a problem when you realise that you cannot spend a minute without eating something. While there are multiple warning signs of emotional eating, the most usual ones include the following:
Extreme attitudes or emotions towards food
Discomfort due to overeating
Feelings of guilt or shame regarding your overeating habits
Loss of self- control towards food cravings
How to Stop Emotional Eating Habits
Feel Good About Yourself
Overcoming emotional eating is possible particularly when you develop a sense of self-love. It is common for people to turn to food especially when they are going through social, psychological, emotional or physical challenges. Eating can be very comforting, pleasurable and distractive. Many of those suffering from emotional eating find themselves there as a result of low self-esteem, self-doubt, low confidence, stress, depression, anxiety or physical dissatisfaction, among many other things.
Feeling good about yourself is a significant step towards stopping emotional eating. All it takes to avoid emotional eating is to shun all negative emotions from your life. Welcoming sadness, anger, stress and anxiety, among other negative emotions, can trigger emotional eating habits. Consider replacing all negative emotions with mindfulness, gratitude, appreciation and kindness. In doing so, it should boost your self-confidence and esteem and so help you adapt to a healthier diet.
Identify Emotional Eating Triggers
Are you wondering how to reduce emotional eating? Well, recognising all factors that trigger your emotional eating habits is a good place to start. Figuring out what causes your uncontrollable food cravings can help you get rid of your unhealthy habits successfully. Sometimes people reach for food automatically without necessarily knowing what causes their cravings. Awareness promotes healthy eating habits. Eating disorders can have life-threatening health concerns such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, obesity, skin ailments, depression, stress and anxiety among others.
Pinpointing what triggers your abnormal eating patterns can help you develop healthy eating habits. It becomes incredibly easy to control or manage your appetite, hunger or cravings when you know what causes it. You can succeed in suppressing weird eating patterns if you don’t backtrack on figuring what triggers your binge eating habits in the first place.
Stress is an automatic emotional eating trigger. One of the best ways of tackling eating disorders is through stress management. There are many ways of eliminating stress from your life. Consider going out with your friends, family or colleagues and dance your stress away. Alternatively, you can engage in other stress relieving activities such as swimming, dancing, yoga, hiking, meditating, weight lifting or jogging to help your body and mind relax. Stress management may seem like a trivial thing but it’s very effective in curbing emotional eating habits.
Substitute Emotional Eating Habits
Consider replacing your emotional habits with other pleasurable things such as fashionable clothes, smart devices, movies, music, picnics, blogging, modelling, playing sports or singing. It is imperative to train your mind and body to find pleasure in other things rather than food. Try to enjoy each and every second or minute you are doing something that makes you feel good about yourself. You will be surprised by your achievements if you are disciplined enough to overcome food temptations.
Going for pass times or activities that awaken your passion, confidence, self- esteem and self -love can be the best decision you ever make as a binge eater.
Eat When Hungry Only
You can successfully curb emotional eating if you only eat when hungry. The majority of emotional eaters don’t wait for hunger pangs to bite. On the contrary, they tend to eat unhealthy foods to deal with boredom, stress, rejection, criticism or loneliness – without the ability to control themselves.
If you are truly determined, disciplined, devoted and committed to only eating when hungry, your risk of obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, breathing disorders and depression should be reduced, provided you stick to a balanced diet.
A lot of emotional eaters experience guilt, shame or embarrassment after overeating. Most of the time, however, they tend to deny they have an eating disorder in the first place. Denial, resistance and avoidance of the truth can counteract your efforts in stopping emotional eating. Embracing self-acceptance, on the other hand, should increase your efforts manifold.
The answer to controlling any addiction lies in accepting, at the outset, that there is a problem. Self-acceptance makes it easier for emotional eaters to either seek professional assistance or find alternative ways of dealing with their food addiction effectually. Remember, it all starts with self-acceptance before others can accept you too.
Incorporate Fitness in Your Lifestyle
Although many people ignore to include fitness as a part of their lifestyle, regular exercise can help stop emotional eating naturally. It is important to create at least 30 minutes per day for keeping fit. You can either walk, jog, swim, practice yoga or meditation, lift weights, play football, golf, tennis or rugby among other physical fitness activities.
Exercising can boost your immune system, improve blood flow, prevent chronic diseases, consolidate your memory, curb inflammation, enhance your skin’s health, relieve stress and boost self-confidence. It is prudent to incorporate physical fitness into your lifestyle to increase your chances of eliminating emotional eating permanently. Exercising will also help you get ripped, lose weight and live a disease-free life.
Increase Your Water Intake
Are you wondering how to curb emotional eating? Well, focus on drinking water. Water is a commodity that has many health benefits. If you start to drink 8-10 glasses of water every day, it could save you from many emotional eating-related health complications.
The majority of emotional eaters tend to develop a preference for unhealthy beverages like energy drinks, alcoholic or non-alcoholic soft drinks, among others, as a direct substitution for water. Unfortunately, opting for unhealthy drinks worsens things for emotional eaters. Drinking water, however, does not only help deal with emotional eating but can also boost your memory, strengthen the immune system, promote relaxation, eliminate stress and improve your overall wellbeing.
Get Enough Sleep Every Night.
Getting enough sleep every night can help stop emotional eating. Poor sleep patterns can trigger emotional eating in one way or the other. It is essential to ensure that you get enough rest to control and manage your appetite, cravings or hunger. Most emotional eaters can attest to the fact that they developed their unhealthy habits as a result of lack of adequate sleep.
Poor sleep patterns can open doors for other health complications such as depression, cancer, inflammation, skin ailments, Alzheimers, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and obesity, to list but a few. Never sacrifice your sleeping time for anything if you want to curb your emotional eating disorder. You stand to gain immensely from sleeping for the recommended period of between 6-8 hours every night.
Write It Out In A Journal.
About 90% of emotional eating cases are stress related. One of the best ways of relieving stress is through writing down what you feel inside. Consider buying a journal or diary and keep it private. Use the journal/diary to write out your feelings, emotions or experiences. Writing can help you eliminate all frustrations, stress, depression or anxiety triggering factors without being judged by others.
Use your journal to develop healthy eating habits. Make a point of planning your daily, weekly or monthly diet and stick with healthy foods to accomplish your mission. The good thing about a journal is that you can write whatever you feel to alleviate boredom, loneliness, rejection, frustration or stress, without necessarily involving third parties.
Get Rid Of All Unhealthy Foods in Your House
Consider avoiding temptation by getting rid of all unhealthy food in your house. Stocking your fridge with processed foods, desserts and junk food can easily push you to emotional eating. Most emotional eaters have a preference for sugary, fatty or carbohydrate-rich foods such as fries, soft drinks, chicken, pizza, and crisps. Replacing all the unhealthy foods in your pantry or refrigerator with low calorie, unprocessed, low cholesterol or low-fat foods such as vegetables, fruits, fish and whole grains can eliminate all the temptations.
Eating healthy foods can save you from developing emotional eating habits. It is easy to develop a rumbling stomach when you have sweet foods in the house. Avoiding sugary foods can be a tricky affair for many people but it works excellently in dealing with emotional eating disorders.
Embrace the above valuable information to take control of your emotional eating regardless of your race, age, gender or nationality
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