Home > Nutrition Tips > Emotional Eating

Emotional Eating

Timeless Nutrition Tips...

Are you trying to stick to a healthy eating plan, when along comes a situation or problem that totally stresses you out. Suddenly, you intensly crave a piece of chocolate cake or that extra helping at dinner - or perhaps half a bag of Doritoes or potato chips...a whole pizza - sound familiar?

Emotional Eating

This is a food craving; however, it has nothing to do with genuine hunger. Genuine hunger is a biological need, whereas food cravings are based on emotion. As humans, we are all prone to these cravings and everybody responds differently. Below are a few tips to help you deal with sudden stress related cravings.

Get in touch with your emotion.

Be prepared to deal with food cravings anytime you find yourself feeling upset about something. The mere act of anticipating the urge can often help you avoid giving in to the temptation to splurge.

Popcorn and Smoothie Beverage If you still must eat something, make it a lower calorie snack. While it is best to do your best to learn how to control impulsive eating, we all run into times when we just say, "to heck with it!" and give in. Keep some favorite low-calorie snacks handy at all times for this situation. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Ritz whole wheat crackers topped with 2-percent cheese.
  • Fat free potato chips.
  • 1 cup of low fat chili.
  • Meal replacement or a healthy fruit smoothie.
  • Low fat or non-fat ice cream.
  • Non fat / sugar free yogurt.
  • Light microwave popcorn.

If all else fails...

If you have a very strong craving for a particular food that just will not go away - eat it and be rid of the temptation. Sometimes it is best to do this and NOT eat a lot of other foods while trying to curb your appetite for the food you really want. This is where you will have to be the judge AND jury!

If you are a frequent emotional eater, seriously consider getting some emotional help. There may be underlying issues you need to deal with before you can learn to control emotional eating.

Five Traits of Emotional Eater's

  • You experience sudden pangs of hunger (physical hunger happens gradually)
  • You crave a specific food and cannot imagine eating anything else
  • You feel like you need to eat immediately and cannot wait
  • You continue to eat after you feel full, or you eat absent-mindedly, eating a whole bag of chips, for instance, without realizing it
  • You feel guilty after eating

Free Emotional Eating Quiz

Take this very quick and very short quiz to find out if you're guilty of emotional eating. Remember how many "yes's" you have and how many "no's"; results are right below.

  1. I turn to food when faced with hurt, disappointment, rejection, boredom or loneliness.
  2. I cannot stop eating even when my stomach feels full.
  3. With the stress of always being on the run, I eat more junk food than I should.
  4. When I am upset, I crave sweets or chips or other "munchies".
  5. When eating with friends, I tend to overeat. It is difficult for me to separate the camaraderie from the meal itself!
  6. When I overeat, I rarely even enjoy the food. I then feel guilty and eat even more.

Quiz Answers & Results

If you answered "True" to so much as one of these statements, you are probably an emotional eater. Emotional eating is a very common coping mechanism many use to deal with stress, anger, boredom, loneliness or frustration. The next time you find yourself perusing the cupboard for something to eat, stop and ask yourself "Am I feeding my body or feeding my feelings?" To break this self-destructive habit, learn to recognize what triggers your hunger and do your best to handle it with more productive means.

What to do for Emotional Detoxification?

Shift your view to be one that is positive, and you’ll be amazed at the discoveries you make along the way. A positive outlook makes a tremendous difference and can help you to totally transform your existing life into the life of your dreams.

If you don't like something in your life, have the courage to be honest with yourself. This is more difficult than it seems sometimes. We often delude ourselves into accepting aspects of our life so we will not have to put in the effort to make changes. Honesty is an integral part of remaking your life into the life you would like to have. Honesty to yourself and others plays a huge role in good emotional detoxification.

While there may be plenty of social conditioning that affects us, we are the only ones who can choose to accept thoughts and ideas as part of our reality. You are the only thinker of your thoughts. Those thoughts will create your reality. If you don’t like the reality your thoughts are creating, change your thoughts.

You become what you think and feel.

“The people who make significant life improvements are those who refuse to fall prey to self-pity.” – Unknown

Could You Be a Compulsive Eater?

Compulsive eating is very serious and has an impact on both physical and mental health. Left untreated, binge eating can lead to severe medical problems including high cholesterol and diabetes, heart disease.

Compulsive eating can affect women or men, though it appears twice as often among women. People with compulsive eating disorder suffer from episodes of uncontrolled eating or bingeing followed by periods of guilt and depression. Binge eating is marked by the consumption of large amounts of food, sometimes accompanied by a pressured, "frenzied" feeling. Compulsive eating disorder may cause a person to continue to eat even after he or she becomes uncomfortably full.

Following is a list of the most common "symptoms" of the compulsive eater.

The Signs of a Compulsive Eater

  • Think about food a lot.
  • Eat to relieve worry or stress.
  • Continue to eat even after feeling sick from eating too much.
  • Become anxious while eating.
  • Daydream or worry while eating.
  • Overeat.
  • Eat too fast.
  • Eat everything on the plate.
  • Feel guilty when you eat.
  • Eat secretly.
  • Cannot eat just one cookie, or any treat that you really like.
  • Binge after a diet.
  • Hunger makes you feel fearful and uncomfortable.

In today's society, compulsive overeating is not yet taken seriously enough. Instead of being treated for the problem, they are instead directed to diet centers and health spas. Like anorexia and bulimia, compulsive overeating is a serious problem and can result in death. With the proper treatment, which should include therapy, medical and nutritional counseling, it can be overcome.

Signs of a Compulsive Eater