Coping with Emotional Eating
How much does it mean?
Hunger doesn’t always come from the stomach; the mind can be an equally powerful trigger when it comes to the urge to eat.
Many of us “get hungry” when we feel a need to numb certain emotions or to ease feelings of discomfort, but this sort of hunger has nothing to do with providing our bodies with energy or satisfying cravings. It is a powerful psychological hunger that takes on a life of its own and exerts control over our behaviour, and it can lead to serious weight control problems.
Of course, there is no such thing as a “quick fix” for this sort of emotional eating, but with practice, patience and support, it can be controlled.
Read on to learn more about emotional eating.
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What is emotional eating?
When we use food in response to situations or feelings that make us feel uncomfortable or dissatisfied, it’s called emotional eating. Does this scenario sound familiar to you?
In situations like this one, something happens while we’re eating to make us feel relief. Although we’re not consciously aware of it, for a brief moment, all bad feelings are suspended, and for a few moments we feel soothed.
Of course, many of us occasionally engage in eating that has nothing to do with physical hunger, but is prompted by emotions or situations. For example, on your best friend's birthday you might eat a piece of cake to be sociable even if you are not hungry. Or when you’re feeling bored, you might treat yourself to a couple of your favourite biscuits. This occasional use of food to celebrate or comfort is okay. However, if you frequently eat when stressed, bored, or upset, then your emotional eating is problematic.
Next: Am I an emotional eater?
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