Emotional Eating

Do you find yourself drawn to food when your upset or feeling low? Finding comfort form food is a normal response to emotional eating. Reaching for food in times of distress may temporarily sooth negative feelings. However, this cycle can lead a person to feelings of guilt and shame and associate issues such as gaining weight.

Struggling with issues at work, relationship problems, financial burdens and health worries may be the root of emotional eating. This may be a theme in your life when you look back at other stressful or emotional situations. Did your weight fluctuate at these times?

Food can be a way of filling the void that we feel and give a false sense of wholeness. As humans we must eat, however there is a difference between satisfying our physical needs and our emotional hunger needs. Feelings of hunger do not leave us with guilt and shame and when we feel full, we can take this as a cue to stop eating. With emotional eating habits we may binge eat and still not sense a feeling of fullness. We can be left with feelings of guilt and shame which reinforce our negative beliefs of self.

Overcoming emotional eating involves finding new ways of coping with stress. This could mean changing your behavioural actions, instead of eating we go for a walk. It can also mean decompressing your day by allowing yourself a few moments to journal and diarise your feelings. Finding ways to wind down and relax help us in destressing.

Ways to stop emotional eating

  1. Meditate
  2. Listen to music you enjoy
  3. Read a book
  4. Go for a walk
  5. Eat a healthy diet
  6. Portion control
  7. Shop wisely
  8. Seek support
  9. Work on positive self-talk
  10. Start a food diary

It is important to work on your inner dialogue and recognise times when we emotionally eat. Instead of being hard on yourself, speak with compassion and kindness. Set setbacks as opportunities to learn and grow. Acknowledge your achievements no matter how small they may feel.