Emotional Eating Defined
Let me introduce the term “emotional eating.” Who hasn’t, on occasion, overindulged in too much food, dessert or alcohol? That’s okay but when those overindulgences become a habit or are out of control, there could be an emotional eating pattern developing.
Possible signs of emotional eating
- Eating alone or eating in secret
- Eating foods that you wouldn’t eat around others
- Hiding packaging from food
- Feelings of sadness, anxiety, guilt, shame, worry, or powerlessness
- Digestion issues, difficulty sleeping, and weight fluctuation
If that sounds familiar, be assured that you are not alone. There are many of us out there who have either had emotional eating patterns or have emotional eating patterns but don’t know how to change.
There is hope.
Change is possible
But first, what are some of the factors that drive these patterns?
- Bio-individual considerations can be part of a tendency toward emotional eating. We are all different and food means different things emotionally to each of us.
- Cultural norms can lead to or encourage non-optimal eating habits. Our culture in the U.S. is fast paced and we all want quick fixes. Eating on the run, fast food drive by, late night eating as there was no time during the day. Waking up late at night or unable to sleep with too many racing thoughts. The list can go on. There are many different cultural norms that affect emotional eating.
- Social influences are an often-overlooked part of the pattern. Who we are spending time with affects what we may eat or drink.
- Personal coping strategies can define emotional eating. One example is when we use food for a purpose other than satiation.
- Ability to regulate emotions is also part of the pattern. Are we using food as a crutch? Are we disconnected from our emotions?
- Sleep habits can be surprisingly important. Sometimes carb cravings are a means of self-medication, and sleep deprivation adds fuel to this fire. We may choose high carb foods for energy we lack because we didn’t get enough sleep.
Your relationship with food
All these factors affect your relationship with food. Getting to the root of your relationship with food, your biases, assumptions and finding strategies to change are all possible.
And so is freedom from feelings of — will this ever stop?! Can you have a “normal” relationship with food?
The answer to that is YES! If you are looking for some guidance on how to change, please reach out for a free confidential discovery call.