I am an emotional eater. I eat when I’m happy, I eat when I’m sad, I eat when I’m bored or stressed. Basically, anything that’s going on in my life somehow reverts back to food.
B-eat defines emotional eating as “eating large amounts of food in response to negative emotions rather than physical hunger.” And that’s where the difference lies. Physical hunger is because your stomach needs filling. Physical hunger is a response to something in your head.
It is easy to tell the difference between emotional and physical hunger. Physical hunger comes on gradually and will be satisfied with any kind of food whereas emotional hunger comes on suddenly and makes you crave certain things. Normally sweet and sugary things or foods high in fat.
In order to manage emotional eating, you need to look at what your triggers are. For me the main one is boredom. If I’m sat at home doing nothing and I know that there’s cake in the cupboard, I will literally think of nothing BUT the cake until I’ve got up and had some. But once I’ve had some, I’ll want more until the whole lot is gone.
Feeling upset or anger can lead to an emotional eating binge. It’s a story we hear all the time, someone has made a comment about your size or weight so you turn to food for comfort.
Companies use on the fact that we turn to food for comfort, stress relief or as a reward, when it comes to advertising. The chocolate advert where the woman is curled on the sofa looking totally relaxed is going to look like bliss if you’re feeling stressed. Or If you’re feeling lonely then the one where a man shares a bag of crisps with his mates while they’re laughing and joking together is going to make you feel all the feels.. However it’s not the chocolate that is making the woman relaxed, and it’s not the crisps giving the man friends and a social life, they are ACTORS in a clever advertising strategy.
Understanding your emotional triggers can allow you to control them.
If you know that the feeling of things getting on top of you will lead to a binge, try keeping a diary where you can write your emotions down, or phone a friend who can cheer you up. Sometimes just sharing how you are feeling can stop you feeling overwhelmed.
Eatingbecause of stress can be solved by finding a good stress buster. For me exercise helps me unwind, going for a run helps me clear my head and burns calories. Another stress reliever for me is a bubble bath with a few drops of lavender oil, a good book that I can get a bit lost in and some chilled music (the Your morning Coffee playlist on Spotify is PERFECT for this!)
As I said previously the main thing that leads to me emotional eating is boredom. If you are sat watching TV it’s so easy to eat mindlessly. My ultimate prevention technique is to paint my nails (you can’t eat if your nails are wet, well you can but it often ends badly!) Find a hobby (knitting, sewing, scrapbooking, etc.), play on your phone, do some Instagram browsing, do anything that keeps your hands busy and your mind distracted from the kitchen cupboards.