Emotional eating and the power of food

Food is the fuel that feeds us. But our emotional connection with food can make it more than fuel. As human beings, we weave food into how we live, celebrate, medicate and mourn. But, if this tactic is used as a coping mechanism, emotional eating can become a way of life.

Many people believe that emotional eating is due to a lack of self-control. That is far from the truth. If emotional eating were simply an issue of discipline, we’d all be able to fix it by merely committing to better behavior. And, we’d have no need for tortuous meal plans, special diets and obsessing over what to eat and when. Here are five things that contribute to emotional eating: 


#1 Being Unaware

Unconscious eating is when you are done with your meal and continue to pick at it. Or, putting food in your mouth because it's in front of you.

SOLUTION: be mindful while eating and focus on what you’re eating. Most important, eat slowly and avoid self-judgment about what is on your plate.


#2 Food -The Ultimate Pleasure

Many who struggle with emotional eating feel that if they didn't have food, they'd have nothing to look forward to. Nothing is better than a huge bowl of ice cream, popcorn or a glass of wine to sooth a exhaustive and hard-worked day, right? 

SOLUTION: Find other ways to reward yourself beside food (and other self-destructive behaviors). These different ways may not be as effective as food, but they can help. To honestly deal with emotional eating you also must practice tolerating difficult and stressful feelings. Which leads to #3


#3 Difficult Feelings

We are taught as children to avoid things that make us feel bad. Sadly, how we choose to deal with complicated feelings aren't always in our best interest. To avoid being susceptible to emotional eating, you must find ways to deal with life’s difficulties. 

SOLUTION: No one likes feeling bad, but allow yourself to deal with feelings of sadness, anger, boredom or rejection. That way you are less likely to use food as a way to comfort yourself during a difficult period. 


#4 Body Shaming

Hating your body is one the leading reason for emotional eating. Additionally, feelings of hate and shame rarely inspire people to make long-lasting changes to their body. If you believe that you will stop hating your body after you’ve reached your goal weight, it will most definitely lead to emotional eating. You must stop hating your body before you can stop the emotional eating.  

SOLUTION: This issue is much bigger and more complicated than this article. Therefore, please seek professional guidance and support. 


#5 Hunger/Urges

When you’re hungry and tired, you are not on you’re A-game.

SOLUTION: Don't let yourself get too hungry or too tired because it is the best way to become vulnerable to emotional eating.


Sources:  Wellness.com, Psychologytoday.com, madeaboutfood.com, webmb.com