Emotional eating simply means the tendency to gorge on calorie rich food when one is not particularly hungry but instead, overcome by a strong emotional influence like boredom, depression, happiness or, if one is to believe the theories propagated by ace psychologist Sigmund Freud, suppressed sexuality.
Emotional eating, as the name itself might suggest, is a characteristic response to one’s emotions and not one’s hunger pangs and so the food which is consumed is also of the kind which generates a false and superficial sense of temporary wellbeing, like chocolate or ice creams or any other such sort of junk food, oozing with hundreds of calories. Emotional eating can also be a resultant factor of unbearable work stress and career related frustrations. The victims of emotional eating try to fill the void created by stress or other negative feelings with food that make the mouth water despite of not being particularly hungry. Needless to point out that such emotional eating makes one steadily and rapidly gain weight and does nothing to relieve the stress or emotional discomfort one was suffering from because the unhappiness soon returns right after the food has been gorged upon.
Know how to Identify Emotional Eating:
One needs to be able to tell when the craving is that of an actual physical sense of hunger and when is it just an emotional need to binge eat. In order to identify the difference try to focus on how often does one feel really hungry? If the hunger comes all of a sudden and not gradually then it is a sure sign of an emotional response to eating. If the hunger is such that it seems to be only craving for a particular kind of food like pizza or chips and if there is a feeling of guilt that prevails after the food has been consumed then one has been overtaken by the bouts of emotional eating. Actual hunger stimulated eating will make one crave for any kind of food instead of only some narrow specifics that emotional eating brings about, actual hunger will also be satisfied as soon as the stomach feels full while emotional eating does not seem to come to an end, physical hunger can be controlled to some extent but emotional eating binges seem to hover over one’s head and force one into satisfying it almost immediately. The immediacy is of course a mental trick, so that one does not get the time to contemplate over it and realize that one is eating because of an emotional charge. It is finished before the feeling of guilt sets in and by then it is too late.
What Causes Emotional Eating:
There are many reasons that one can find responsible for emotional eating, some of them have been identified below, go through the list to assess what is the cause which is triggering one’s unhealthy habit of emotional eating
Overflow of Emotions:
As discussed earlier emotional eating is most likely to surface right after one has gone through an emotional storm. Although emotional eating may also be the result of happiness the chances of it being a response to depression is more common. The urge to fill one’s stomach with delectable snacks is strong when one faces a kind of emotional emptiness. When a particular situation spins out of control one forces food down one’s throat to generate a false sense of happiness and contentment in the hope of killing those negative feelings. But it goes without saying that nothing of that sort gets accomplished. Instead what one is left to face is guilt for inexcusable and unnecessary over indulgence.
Many have acquired the unhealthy habit of munching calorie laden food just to fit into a particular group of people. The fear of not being able to be a part of a group that interests one highly leads weak willed folks towards more and more food. There are also some hosts who force feed their guests and in order to keep one’s heart people gorge on food unnecessarily.
Just because one has paid a certain sum for a buffet dinner does not imply that one would devour everything they have on platter. The usual big eaters may be excused but not the ones who are only interested in eating because they wish to have more than their money’s worth. The feeling of victory or the achievement of satisfaction that comes from knowing that one has not been monetarily cheated generates this kind of emotional eating.
How to Overcome Emotional Eating:
Once the source of emotional eating has been identified and one is intent on overcoming it only then can such habits be permanently uprooted from one’s system. If looking forward to getting back into shape and coming out of the tendency to eat when emotional then try to
Divert One’s Mind:
One’s mind needs an interesting diversion so do what interests one the most. The music lovers can listen to some inspirational music or try learning a new musical instrument, the ones who are hooked on to online social networking can use this excuse to divert their mind from food. It does not have to be specific. Just channelize the excessive energy into something that can have a positive effect on one.
Just focus on moving on. Get out of enclosures and embrace the world outside. Take long walks, yoga classes, jog around the blocks or walk to one’s friend’s place just to say hi. This simple gesture will help one social and bond well with the ones who matter the most in life.
Drink a Hot Cuppa:
A nice and hot cup of tea or coffee helps one in overcoming these urges to gorge when not hungry. So make a cup of green tea. It will quench the hunger and help in shedding those extra pounds as well.
Keep a Bottle of Water Close by:
Sipping some water now and then makes one feel full. If one is fond of chilled water then arrange for a bottle which keeps the water cool inside for a longer period of time. The beneficial nature of water will help wash away the toxins from the blood stream and provide one with a glowing skin.
The only way of recovering from emotional eating is by realizing that one needs help. Such realization will come about when one takes a few minutes out from one’s busy schedule and contemplate about one’s life. Just get in touch with the person one truly is within. Being friends with oneself is very important and so is learning the art of forgiveness. Food cannot substitute love, success and happiness but good intentions along with patience can. So shrug off the negativity and embrace life as it is. Like a prophet once said… “The best time to live is now”. Just grab the moment and take control of life.