Emotional Eating Part One: Are You Guilty of Food Abuse?
It feels good. It feels really good. It doesn’t let you down. Every time you need a little “pick-me-up”, just a quick hit makes you feel better instantly.
And it’s available in grocery and convenience stores all over town.
Food may not be an illegal narcotic or alcohol, but people can abuse it just the same.
It’s called emotional eating and, left unchecked, it can become an auto-response to physical and emotional stress, happiness and/or boredom. And its effects can be as devastating to your health as any other substance abuse.
Emotional Eating & Weight Management
Emotional eating is a problem because it causes you to eat when you’re not actually hungry. Many emotional eaters turn to food when they feel stress, anger, fear, loneliness or any of the variety of other emotions, both good and bad, that result from life’s ups and downs. They mistake those feelings for hunger pangs and do what anyone does when they feel hungry – eat.
Over-consumption due to emotional eating undermines your weight loss efforts in a number of ways:
- Eating doesn’t make your problems go away – If stress in the office makes you reach for a cupcake to help you feel better, the stress will be there after you finish the cupcake – and you’ll feel like another cupcake, and the stress will still be there.
- More weight to lose – Weight management is difficult. Emotional eating adds to the difficulty.
- Dejection – Emotional eating nullifies the weight loss you’ve worked so hard to achieve. It can be very discouraging – and lead to more emotional eating
- Another problem to deal with – Weight management means changing your eating patterns and lifestyle. Emotional eating adds yet another habit to change at a time when you can least tolerate it.
Identify Your Emotional Eating
The first step to avoiding the pitfalls of emotional eating is to become fully aware of when and how much you do it. You must learn which triggers cause you to eat in response to your feelings instead of real hunger, including:
- Job stress
- Money problems
- Relationship problems
- Emotional sensitivity
- Physical pain or exhaustion
If there is any good news about emotional eating it is that it can be corrected.
In Part Two of this series, we’ll give you a number of tips for identifying the triggers that cause emotional eating and getting you back in control of your weight loss.