Addressing Emotional Eating
Updated: May 20, 2020
Emotional eating is very common. It usually starts with an uncomfortable feeling of a need that is not met. This commonly leads to either restricting, or binging. If you experience this, you are not alone!
Before I get into things I would like to start this blog by mentioning if you are struggling with an eating disorder, there are professionals that can work with you so if you are struggling, it is always best to seek professional help.
Mindset is very important when it comes to emotional eating. Most people develop a mindset that there are good foods and bad foods. By believing this, when it comes to eating "bad foods" what happens is they think they messed up. Once they feel that way, they think they might as well keep messing up because they believe its all or nothing.
By telling yourself there are bad foods, you tend to either avoid them or feel guilty for eating them. If you avoid them, you tend to feel deprived and this usually builds up leading to a binge which then has the individual feeling out of control and ashamed. After they try to regain control and the cycle continues.
I would like to clarify some things that may come as a shock. There are no good foods and bad foods. There is also no such thing as fat burning foods or fattening foods.
I know this sounds crazy but hear me out.
There are nutrient dense foods and calorie dense foods.
All foods contain energy known to us as calories. ALL foods have calories. When it comes to weight gain or weight loss, calories are what matter because its energy.
The more energy we store and do not burn off= weight gain.
The more food energy we burn= weight loss.
Eating healthy nutritious foods is good and important, but we can't completely dismiss calories. You can eat only healthy foods and still gain weight because those foods contain calories and when you are consuming more calories than you burn, you will gain weight.
Everything in moderation is key. TOO much or TOO little of anything can be bad.
Addressing Your Feelings
It's important to understand what you are feeling and why so you can cope in a healthy way.
How Do I Feel?
- (Add other feeling here)
Why Do I Think I Feel Like This?
This is where you do you best to analyze by writing some thoughts down.
How Can I Cope With This?
Getting Support- Calling a friend/ family member/therapist
Permission- If you are feeling a binge, first have a glass of water. Next, set a time for yourself. This helps you gain control of the feeling. Ex. I get to eat in 15 minutes. This helps by giving yourself permission to eat. If by that time and after your glass of water you still want to eat, then eat. Many times, once the time passes and you keep yourself hydrated, the urge goes away.
Redirect- Go for a walk, take a bath, read, listen to music or enjoy another hobby.
Stop weighing yourself- If you feel happy when the number goes down or angry/sad when the number goes up, you need to GET OFF THE SCALE. You are more than a number and are NOT defined by what the scale tells you.