Is emotional eating hindering your weight loss efforts?
Do you often find yourself eating in anxious, stressful or tense situations even when you were not feeling hungry?
You might not realize that it was just a play of emotions with hunger or your brain might have tricked you being hungry, but next time ask yourself twice that are you hungry, thirsty or just bored!
if you think that just a day of binge eat won’t harm but you will never realize that when ‘only a day’ became a now and then habit
Emotional eaters are mostly confused with the feelings and they tend to gain weight without even knowing that what’s wrong with in their eating habits.
Emotional eating can also hinder your weight-loss efforts.
This follows with the feeling of guilt, sorrow, embarrassment and distress from the self-consciousness related to binge eating.
A feeling of loss of control during the binge is often seen in the individuals
Binge eating can be life-threatening but is a treatable eating disorder represented by reoccurring episodes of eating large portions of food, generally very fast and to the point of discomfort.
A feeling of loss of control during the binge is often seen in the individuals followed by the experience of shame or guilt afterward.
Individuals sometimes may use unhealthy compensatory measures like purging to counter the binge eating.
It is the most common eating disorder in youth and especially youth of film industry.
The binge eating disorder is generally determined if you have three (or more) symptoms from the following:
- Eating much more quickly than from usual.
- Eating until the feeling of being uncomfortably bloated.
- Eating food even when not feeling physically hungry.
- Eating alone because of feeling embarrassed of eating large portions.
- Feeling disgusted of self, anxious, or terrified of gaining weight afterward.
Are you emotional hungry or physically hungry?
Emotional hunger is triggered very similar to that of being physically hungry, so it confuses us and is easy to mistake it for physical hunger. But your body gives you indications and pointers you can look for to know the truth:
Emotional hunger will come on suddenly with more of urge and cravings, while physical hunger comes steadily and slowly. The crave to eat never gives instant satisfaction (unless you haven’t eaten for a while).
Emotional hunger will crave specific foods only and while you’re physically hungry, almost anything will sound good—even vegetable salads.
Emotional hunger leads to not so conscious eating. Before you consciously notice you would probably eat an entire box of chocolate even without enjoying it.
But when you eat for your physical hunger, you are more of aware of what you do.
emotional eating is linked with unpleasant feelings
Emotional hunger searches for a certain smell, taste, and looks of a dish, as this hunger is not located in the stomach but your brain that will eventually lead to embarrassment or guilt.
But when you eat for your real hunger or physical hunger, you will never feel guilty as you are simply completing basic needs of life. If only you feel guilty for what you eat, must be because you know deep down that you are not giving your body healthy food.
There could be events, places, or even feelings that make you want to reach for the comfort food? Most of the emotional eating is linked with unpleasant feelings, which can also be triggered by positive emotions, like rewarding yourself when achieving a goal or celebrating
Most of the emotional eating is linked with unpleasant feelings, which can also be triggered by positive emotions, like rewarding yourself when achieving a goal or celebrating a holiday or any happy event.
Below written are common causes of emotional eating:
- Have you heard that STRESSED is DESSERTS spelled backward? Simply because stress can give you strong need for comfort food, and if the stress is chronic it releases high levels of stress hormones – adrenaline and cortisol. Where a normal adrenaline release will prepare you to deal with the stress on one hand and Cortisol activates greedy craving for salty, sweet, and fried foods that will give you a burst of energy, happiness, and satisfaction. Cortisol takes your excess calories right straight to the gut, leaving a deposit of abdominal chunk, next to your liver so that it can efficiently synthesize for energy. It is actually a proper function, only when functioning properly! The more uncontrolled stress you have in your life, the more likely you are to turn to food for emotional solace.
- Stuffing emotions is a way to trigger brain’s hunger site. As eating is a way to silence or “stuff down” your uncomfortable emotions, which includes annoyance, agitation, depression, anxiety, rejection, resentment, and shame. While you stuff yourself with food, you can comfortably stay away from emotions you wanted to avoid.
- Boredom can also be another way to awake your hungry brain. When you have nothing to do, you might feel as if you need something to fill that void and to do same you will stuff yourself with food to overcome the feeling of emptiness. Ask yourself that do you ever eat to give yourself something to do or to relieve boredom? If you feel empty, food is the best way to occupy your mouth and your time. In return, it distracts you from the feelings of loneliness and dissatisfaction of life.
- Think of your childhood memories back then. Your parents must have rewarded you with the food you like the most like pizza, ice cream or chocolate when you did good behavior or had good grades. These emotional type of eating habits are often carried over into adulthood. Where some of the cravings are driven by nostalgia—for cherished memories like eating burgers and sandwiches at picnic with your family, baking and eating cake with your mom, or gathering with your extended family for a home-cooked yummy dinner. All these memories leave an imprint in your brain for cravings later.
- Some of the emotional eating habits are also derived from social influences. Like a get together with old friends for lunch is a great way to relieve stress. It makes it easy to overindulge with food just because the food is there and everyone else is eating and offering you, and it’s easier to go along with the group. People also tend to overeat in social events out of nervousness.
How to feed and satisfy your feelings without food –
You must know how to control your emotions and a difference between emotional hunger and physical huger.
If you don’t know how to manage your emotions that don’t involve food, then you will not be able to control your eating habits later.
Diets are in demand because they offer proper nutritional advice, and if you say that, that was only the thing keeping you from eating right is proper knowledge, then you must know that these kinds of advice only works if you have conscious control over your eating habits and they will not work when your emotions hacks the process and demanding an immediate ransom of food.
To cease emotional eating completely you must find another way to nurture your feelings and emotions, which should be your first step to concur your hunger site.
You can easily try these simple steps by yourself –
- Keep a track of what you eat and when you eat, where you can also add that how you felt before eating and the feelings after eating. This will help you see a pattern of your food graph in relation to mind.
- Know if you have stress or not. If the reason of your emotional eating is stress then find ways to cope up with stress to help to hit two birds with the same arrow. You can try yoga, meditation or you can even hit the gym!
- Check for the clues that your body gives to know if you are emotionally hungry or physically hungry. Give 5 minutes before satisfying your cravings.
- If you feel helpless you can also join a support group or you can even lean on family member or friend to join you along.
- Don’t stay idol. Do something productive like read a book, watch a movie, go for a walk or do something that was pending for a long time.
- You can also try this simple step by taking away all the treats you have in your refrigerator or chest. If you want to snack you should choose low-calorie or low-fat snack.
- Plan for future like what and how you are going to stay away from unhealthy snacks and meals in future and remember your bad experience with emotional eating episodes.
If you tried every self-help option but still you are not able to control emotional eating, you can consider therapy with a mental health professional, who can help you understand why you eat emotionally and you can also learn some coping skills. Therapy helps you discover whether you have an eating disorder or not.
Check if you have Eating Disorder –
Below given is a simple Self-Scoring Assessment Tool. This is not to be used as a clinical diagnosis but can be used as a tool to help find if you can improve your relationship with food.
Now, answer the questions given below honestly:
- Do you ever feel like you sometimes lose or have lost control over how you eat?
- Do you make yourself sick because you feel uncomfortably full after eating out of pleasure?
- Do you believe yourself to be fat, even when others say that you are thin?
- Does food or thoughts about food tend to dominate your life?
- Do thoughts about changing your body or your weight dominate your life?
Have others also become worried about your weight?
If in this informal survey, you scored 2 or more “yes” answers, then it strongly indicates the presence of disordered eating [Adapted from the Scoff Questionnaire by Morgan, Reid & Lacy-BMJ, 1999], and we suggest you have an expert professional opinion for it.