Why We Succumb To Emotional Eating And How To Stop It
Emotional eating conjures up ideas of one eating copious amounts of ice cream and chocolate during a bout of sadness, but that isn’t always the case. Often we overeat when we are happy as well, only exacerbating the problem. Food satisfies an emotional hole and comforts us when we feel that we cannot express ourselves – whether we are hungry or not is irrelevant.
There are tell-tale signs that you can look out for to ascertain whether you are an emotional eater, such as feeling the need to eat to fill a void, feeling the need to eat immediately rather than being able to wait as with physical hunger and eating even when you are full. Comfort food, though, is the usual giveaway that you are eating out of an emotional need rather than a physical one – you will often reach for a particular type of food in order to satisfy your cravings.
Ice cream, biscuits and chocolate are popular choices for women, while men often reach for pizza or steak as a way of beating their emotional cravings. While we all eat out of an emotional need at some stage or another, the problem occurs when we feel we can only satisfy our emotions through food. Recognising the triggers for emotional eating is the first way to combat the problem – keep a food diary and try to note down the emotion you’re feeling when you have a desire to eat, ranking your cravings from one to ten.
Once you can identify the triggers, you can try to find alternative ways to solve them – calling a friend, going for a walk or taking up a hobby are all positive ways to avoid overeating. Moderation is key and if you can find a way to limit the amount of fattening and sugary foods you’re eating, you can help yourself to lead a healthy lifestyle.