You know how sometimes your stomach is full but you still go for dessert? Or you indulge in an entire candy bar because you have the blues? Those are instances of emotional eating. Emotional eating is trying to improve your mood through eating. When you eat as a result of emotional distress and not because you’re hungry, that is emotional eating.
Using food as a mood enhancer is not necessarily bad. However, it becomes problematic when you use eating as a primary coping mechanism to deal with negative emotions. When you respond to anger, loneliness, stress, or boredom by eating, especially habitually, you risk a lot of weight gain and unresolved issues.
Also, even if eating helps, it will do so only in the short term. The emotions that triggered eating not only return they are also compounded with the guilt that comes with having binged a lot of unnecessary calories. If you don’t take steps to deal with emotions in a healthier way, it can get increasingly difficult for you to manage your weight. In addition, you feel a loss of control over food, appetite, and your feelings.
Are You An Emotional Eater?
If you answer yes to one or more of the following questions, it’s likely that you are an emotional eater.
- Do you tend to eat more when you’re stressed?
- Do you eat when you aren’t hungry or when you’re full?
- Do you eat to feel better emotionally (to calm and soothe yourself when you’re sad, mad, bored, or anxious)?
- Do you give yourself food rewards?
- Do you regularly eat until you’re stuffed?
- Does food give you a sense of safety? Do you feel like food is a friend?
- Do you feel powerless or out of control when around food?
Know The Difference Between Emotional Hunger And Physical Hunger
Here’s how to know the difference between emotional and physical hunger: Knowing how to distinguish between these can be the key to breaking out of emotional eating. It can be hard to realize the difference between real physical hunger and hunger that is a result of feelings but there are a few clues that can help you.
Emotional hunger is sudden. It is overwhelming and urgent. Physical hunger increases gradually. Unless you haven’t eaten for a very long time, physical hunger doesn’t feel so urgent or dire.
Physical hunger can be satisfied with just about most foods, including healthy foods. However, emotional hunger makes you crave specific comfort foods. When you are emotionally hungry, you most likely crave fatty, high-calorie, sugary foods. Your cravings get very specific and can be satisfied only with those.
Emotional hunger leads to eating mindlessly. Without paying attention, you finish off much more than you intended to. Without realizing you polish off a whole bag of chips or an entire candy bar. Eating in response to physical hunger is with greater awareness.
When you are physically hungry, you don’t eat to the point of feeling stuffed, once your stomach is full you feel satisfied. Emotional hunger isn’t satisfied once you’re full. You keep indulging until you are uncomfortably stuffed. Physical hunger, on the other hand, doesnt need to be stuffed. You feel satisfied when your stomach is full.
Physical hunger is limited to the physiology of the stomach. Emotional hunger is psychological. You focus on specific textures, tastes, and smells.
Emotional hunger can lead to regret, guilt, or shame. Eating in response to physical hunger does not lead to guilt because you are responding to a bodily need.
Alternatives To Emotional Eating
If you feel depressed or lonely, call a friend, watch a comedy movie, play with your pet.
If you’re feeling anxious, dance to your favorite song, squeeze a stress ball or take a brisk walk.
If you’re exhausted, treat yourself with a cup of hot tea, take a bubble bath, light some scented candles, or wrap yourself in a warm blanket.
If you’re bored, read a good book, watch a comedy show, do an outdoor activity, do one of your favorite hobbies or activities like playing basketball, scrapbooking, or gardening.
Don’t give in to the craving instantly. Put it off for five minutes. Sometimes putting it off can help you think about it and understand why you want to eat and consider whether it is really for hunger or if it’s prompted by emotions. Even if you end up giving in, you will better understand what made you eat and you can prepare better for next time.
Learn To Accept All Feelings – Even The Negative Ones.
Letting yourself experience uncomfortable emotions can be scary. If we allow our feelings to tide over and experience them, no matter how painful, they will usually subside on their own and not grab our attention. It is important to be mindful and stay in touch with your moment-to-moment emotional experience. This can control stress and resolve emotional problems better.
Physical activity is a wonderful stress reducer and mood enhancer so is sure to make it a priority daily.
Take time out to relax. Allow yourself at least half an hour each day to relax and unwind. Break from daily responsibilities and recharge.
Connect with others. Surround yourself with positive people who will enhance your life and help you escape the negativity of daily stressors.
How Sleep Affects Cravings And Weight Gain
Lack of sleep is directly linked to stress, overeating, and weight gain. This is the reason why you crave foods that give you quick energy boosts when you are sleep deprived. Not only is it harder to fight food cravings, feeling tired can also increase your stress levels, which leads to more emotional eating. To keep your appetite under control and reduce food cravings, try to get ample rest about eight hours of quality sleep every night.
Along with that, you must also use weight loss supplements to burn additional calories while still being rather enjoyable. Garcinia Lean Xtreme naturally suppress the appetite and allow you to go long periods of time without food, which leads to weight loss.