Emotional Eating


What is Emotional Eating?Emotional Eating


Are you really hungry or are you eating for the sake of it? To curb your emotions or because you’re bored? Emotional eating otherwise known as Phantom Hunger, comfort eating or binge eating is different from true hunger feelings. Emotional eating occurs when a person eats food when they don’t need to. The majority of people will be overweight due to this fact. Emotional eating is unnecessary eating. 


You will probably experience numerous symptoms throughout such as;


Needing to eat urgently
Cravings for specific foods
Feeling stuffed, but eating more
Only thinking of food
Feeling upset and eating to make yourself feel better
Thinking you need food to treat yourself
Eating when bored or anxious
Associating a food with a certain person or occurrence
Feeling down about work


There are many more feelings linked with emotional eating too. 


Whats the difference?


The difference between emotional eating and true hunger is that true hunger is biological, the hunger originates from your stomach whereas emotional eating is psychological which originates from your mind.  If you were truly hungry your stomach will begin to make gurgling and grumbling noises which if go ignored will creep up to a hunger pang.  Eating something will sort this hunger pang out and afterwards you will feel satisfied that you have had enough  Whereas emotional eating is triggered from your emotions, how you feel.  Feelings of stress, hurt, sad, heartache, guilt and anxiety as well as boredom can bring on your emotional eating habits ten fold.  Emotional eaters will never feel satisfied, they will just eat, eat, eat and eat more until they have decided they can’t be bothered lifting there hand to their mouth and chewing something else.  Not only this, but emotional eating is only satisfied with a specific food such as cakes, chocolate, crisps and cookies. Basically bad junk foods, an apple or a piece of broccoli will not satisfy your emotional cravings.



So why do we do it?


A lot of people eat their emotions, but aren’t aware that they’re doing so! People do it when they’ve had a bad day, when someone has made fun of them or criticized you. Maybe when something bad has happened and all you can do to forget about it or make yourself feel better is to eat. Like mentioned before emotional eating originates from your mind, it’s all psychological whereas real hunger is physical.  Some binge eaters will eat alone due to embarrassment, some will eat in an uncontrolled frenzy as if food is going out of fashion and others will simply gorge on the couch and graze at food throughout the day.  After doing so the emotional eaters will feel tremendous amounts of guilt and feelings of anger.


Is it classed as an eating disorder?


Eating  triggered by your emotions is not an eating disorder, only in rare and extreme cases it can be classed as an eating disorder.  Such as binging on several cakes, sweets and biscuits and then excessively exercising to cancel out the calories. Emotional eaters have not got an eating disorder as they do not eat excessive amounts and the purge they just eat excessive amounts and then feel guilty for doing so. If someone skipped lunch everyday you wouldn’t class it as anorexia would you?  So why should this be any different?  It shouldn’t! Simple! 


How can you control this?


First things first, you need to know the root cause of the problem. You need to ask yourself why are you doing this?  You need to ask yourself if you are really hungry at the time, you have to get the right mindset. You need to figure out which emotion makes you do it.  I’m not saying that this will break your emotional eating habits as it wont.  Like I just said, it’s a habit.  Habits are hard to break.  If you can firstly conquer your emotions you can work on breaking that bad overeating for the sake of it habit gradually.  Instead of feeling the need to eat, go for a light jog or a stroll, run a candlelit bath, listen to some music and dance about or simply relax on the sofa with a duvet and a good book.  You may seek guidance and counseling through a therapist in order to curb your emotional eating.  After all emotional eating is all triggered form your brain, from all the thought you are having.  Usually the sad thoughts trigger the eating. Talking to a therapist will help you curb the eating through emotions.  Statistics find that approximately 80% of people who eat their emotions have curbed their cravings or cut back through therapy sessions. 


You will break the habit yet.

What if I go on a diet, will it stop me eating my feelings?


I would like to say yes to this, however it isn’t that easy.  Emotional eating is all in your mind, you need to change your mindset completely in order to change this.  Due to this subject being psychological it won’t be as easy as you think.  When your on a diet you need to either cut your calories back or you need to stick to some sort of diet regime such as the Atkins or south beach or something alike.  Therefore binging on your sugary fixes like an over excited kid at Christmas can’t happen.  You need to make sure you have no thoughts of binging at all before even thinking about starting a diet.  Cutting your calories right back will probably make you hungry, due to your hunger pangs being out of control you will probably grab a cake to boost your sugar level as they would have dipped.  Thus making you think that you feel better, when you don’t, you only “feel better” due to your blood sugar level getting a wee boost to regulate it.



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