Emotional overeating is craving for food when you have to deal with negative emotions.
Did you ever ask yourself why you indulge in a lot of food after a bad day? Definitely, it’s a way of distraction from the problem that concerns.
The problem which is created is double. First, the relief is only temporary. Second, we consumed an excessive amount of calories from a non-quality source of food. If you recognize yourself in this behavior then you are an emotional eater.
But what is Emotional Overeating?
Emotional overeating is the most common nutritional disorder nowadays. The main characteristic of it is the craving for food that occurs when there are difficult psychological conditions. Individuals experiencing emotional eating disorder use food as the easiest form of pleasure to deal with stress, anger, fear, boredom, sadness or their loneliness. The overeating episodes consist of eating foods with high caloric value. There is no control of the amount. The emotional eater stops only when there is a stomach pain, or when they fall asleep.
Many people start diets but soon fail. The main reason they fail is because they enter this process on their own without any psychological support. Emotional overeating is often associated with low self-confidence, low self-esteem and usually, is followed by the feeling of guilt. Low confidence with guilt and feeling of stalemate is contributing to a negative outcome.
The food for humans is not only biological need, but several times is considered as a mental need. Every one of us is born with the so-called instinctive regulated food consumption. The baby eats only when is hungry and stops eating when feels satisfaction and saturation. Therefore, the food intake must be oriented for a person seeking a healthy and desired weight. A phenomenon for people who have severe emotional overeating is to be permanently on a diet. That is interrupted by bouts of overeating.
A basic principle of maintaining a balanced diet and a healthy weight is the decoupling of emotional states from eating.
The following 6 strategies can be applied in everyday life:
- Keep a food diary. Write what you eat, how much you eat and what time you eat.
- Separate the organic hunger from emotional. Try to be aware in your mind of the times you eat. Distinguish the times when you are really hungry. Do not forget that emotional hunger and biological hunger differ in several aspects.
- Eat breakfast as well as small and frequent meals. Do not skip breakfast and snacks in your daily life because there is a greater chance to overeat if you are skipping the meals.
- Find a pleasant pastime. A hobby will help. Try to go for a walk, listen to your favorite music, work out or dance.
- Remove temptations. If you are prone to eat sweets do not have them at home. You can “fool” yourself with smart solutions like a jelly with stevia and not sugar.
- Focus on achievable goals. Even the most powerful person has moments of weakness. The first goal may be to write a food diary for a week, the second not to buy foods high in calories and sugar, and the third to troubleshoot your apparent hunger with a hobby.
By Apollonas K.