What Is Emotional Eating?
What is emotional eating? Emotional eating is when we eat in response to situations and feelings other than physical hunger cues from our body. It is as though we are feeding our head hunger than our physical hunger. Physical hunger is feeding our body; head hunger is feeding a void in ourselves that we want to fill. Emotional eating is a way to suppress, quiet our inner voice of emotional discomfort or pain, or calm emotions such as worry, boredom, sadness, anger, or stress. Emotional eating serves as a quick fix that also wears off very quickly. The key is to discover the source of why you want to emotionally eat and address it. When you eat to feed a feeling, whether consciously or unconsciously, emotional eating is triggered. Use the urge to emotionally eat as a window into your head and your heart. So, adopt the practice of STOP-LOOK-LISTEN.
STOP = When you first get the urge to emotionally eat, give yourself a moment of pause and STOP. Don’t go to the kitchen, don’t reach for food yet. Give yourself an opportunity to get control over the urge.
LOOK = LOOK at the situation; LOOK inside yourself as to what is driving your desire to emotionally eat. Are you physically hunger? Check in with your body to see if you are truly hungry? Not head hunger but physical hunger. They can be tough to distinguish but there is a big difference. Head hunger can seem like physical hunger so be a detective and discover the difference for yourself. How long has it been since you ate? Is it too soon for your body to be hungry or is it, in fact, possibly time for a meal or planned snack? If it is not physical hunger, LOOK at the reason you may be wanting to emotionally eat and LOOK at what you are trying to fill.
LISTEN = What is it you need? What is causing your head and heart to want to be filled? Is it a feeling, an emotion, a situation, a person, or a sense of being generally uncomfortable? LISTEN to what you need. Do you need to take care of a situation in order to feel resolved with it? Do you need to deal with a person by talking or interacting with them to resolve your concern with them? What are you feeling or what is the emotion? Try to identify the specific feeling(s) or emotion(s). Many times if you can LISTEN and identify the need you are wanting to emotionally eat over, you can make the urge lessen and go away completely.
Think how you’ll feel when you are Sherlock Holmes and solve the mystery for your emotional eating! You can take the mystery out of emotional eating by doing some detective work for yourself. With each success and not succumbing to the drive to emotionally eat, you gain more confidence and inner strength to overcome any eating or life challenge you encounter. Now THAT is better than anything you can ever eat!
All the best,