Last week I talked about my issues with stress or emotional eating. Usually blogging about something helps me get back on track, but not this time. All week long I found myself eating when I wasn’t hungry and unable to stop.
With everything going on, I’m eating for reasons other than hunger. Because I had several other readers comment that emotional eating is an issue for them as well, I went online and found a site that helped me, How to Recognize and Stop Emotional Eating.
The opening paragraph resonated with me. “We don’t always eat simply to satisfy hunger. We also turn to food for comfort, stress relief, or as a reward. Unfortunately, emotional eating doesn’t fix emotional problems. It usually makes you feel worse.”
This has been so true for me because afterward I still have the emotional issue, but I also feel guilty for overeating.
Many times just recognizing my eating triggers is a big step, and it turns out just reading this made a huge difference for me. Yesterday I finally felt like my old self again.
Emotional hunger can’t be filled with food.
Emotional hunger can’t be filled with food really jumped out at me and made me realize no matter how much I eat, I will never be satisfied. I have to deal with the emotions to find satisfaction. Eating will give me a temporary high, but when I come down, I will still have those pesky emotions to contend with.
The difference between emotional and physical hunger
- Emotional hunger comes on suddenly, whereas physical hunger is more gradual. Emotional hunger craves specific comfort foods—fatty foods or sugary snacks. Emotional hunger often leads to mindless eating.
- Emotional hunger isn’t satisfied once you’re full.
- Emotional hunger leaves behind regret, guilt or shame.
- Emotional hunger isn’t in my stomach, it’s in my head.
How do you know if you’re an emotional eater?
Here are eight signs of emotional eaters from How to Recognize and Stop Emotional Eating:
- Do you eat more when you’re feeling stressed?
- Do you eat when you’re not hungry or when you’re full?
- Do you eat to feel better?
- Do you reward yourself with food?
- Do you regularly eat until you’ve stuffed yourself?
- Does food make you feel safe?
- Do you feel like food is a friend?
- Do you feel powerless or out of control around food?
Three of these I do regularly, and two more I have issues with off and on, so I would say that makes me an emotional eater.
I’m finding that exercise makes a huge difference in my ability to cope with stress and emotional eating. This week I am going to pay attention to my hunger and hopefully determine if it’s emotional or physical hunger.
What are your triggers, and what have you found helpful when you’re eating for reasons other than hunger?