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 food with a certain person or occurrence
✔Feeling down about work
There are many more feelings linked with emotional eating too.
What’s 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 would 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 afterward, you will feel satisfied that you have had enough, Whereas emotional eating is triggered from your emotions, how you feel. Feelings of stress, hurt, sadness, heartache, guilt, and anxiety, as well as boredom, can bring on your emotional eating habits tenfold.
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 their 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 them. Maybe when something bad has happened, all you can do to forget about it or make yourself feel better is eating. 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 can it 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 no eating disorder as they do not eat excessive amounts and purge; they just eat excessive amounts and feel guilty for doing so. If someone skipped lunch every day, 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. Do you need to ask yourself why you are doing this? You need to ask yourself if you are really hungry at the time; you have to get the right mindset. Next, 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 won’t.
Like I just said, it’s a habit. Habits are hard to break. If you can firstly conquer your emotions, you can break that bad overeating for the sake of it 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. Finally, you may seek guidance and counseling through a therapist in order to curb your emotional eating.
After all, emotional eating is all triggered from your brain, from all your thoughts. Usually, the sad thoughts trigger the eating. Talking to a therapist will help you curb 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 from 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 you are on a diet, you need to either cut your calories back or stick to some diet regimes such as Atkins or south beach or something like that. 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.