While most people you meet won’t cry into a pale of Ben and Jerry’s on a regular basis, this is not the only parameters of emotional eating. It is actually a rare thing to meet someone who NEVER eats for an emotional reason. Ever just want some cake due to the fact you’re at a social gathering? That is emotional eating. Ever get excited about the thought of a particularly unhealthy yet delicious dinner? Emotional eating! Ever eaten something you know is extremely bad for you, but you want it anyways? That is definitely emotional eating.
Eating is a major part of the human experience, so it is natural that we would have some emotions associated with eating. The problem is when these emotions override our sense of self control.
First, let’s briefly go over a handful of the various types of emotional eating, so you can know what may qualify as emotional eating. Next, we’ll offer some solution on exactly how you can prevent this behavior.
Types Of Emotional Eating
Eating While *Fill In The Blank*
Eating while talking, watching television, reading, walking, working or anything is a distraction from the food. This is probably one of the most common emotional types of eating that people partake in. When you are eating while you are doing something else you are not fully taking in the flavors of the food. Also, you are less likely to notice when you are actually food.
When you are eating be 100% focused on the food. This will not only help prevent you from overeating, but it also allow you to enjoy what you are actually eating. When you think about it, we’re really lucky to have access to the food we need. Taking the time to enjoy it is a way of honoring that.
Eating For Cravings
Do you ever crave something sugary, spicy, hot, or cold. Often times these types of cravings are associated with a desire (which is a strong emotion) to satiate something non-essential. Unless you are craving something that is vital to your nutrition like veggies, fruit, protein, etc. then chances are you are doing a little bit of emotional eating.
If you ever feel a strong craving along try to wait a little bit. Often these cravings will pass if you give them the right amount of time. If possible go do a distracting and/or fun activity that will take your mind off the food. You may be surprised how quickly your craving disappears! This allows you to either skip the unhealthy calories, or you can choose a healthier food to munch on.
Hunger is something that is supposed to come on slow and steady as we burn energy throughout the day. One will begin to feel a slight hunger then it will grow over time. If you feel the sudden urge to eat it is more than likely due to an emotional yearning to eat rather than an actual need to fill your daily caloric environments.
If you feel a sudden urge to eat question yourself as to exactly why you are hungry. How long ago did you eat? Are you overeating? What is making you want food? Once you find the answer behind what is driving this emotional hunger, it is easier to address the underlying issue. If you MUST eat something, go for something healthy like fruits and/or vegetables.
Who hasn’t eaten too much food? Whether you’re at a party, feeling gluttonous or whatever motivation- that feeling that you’ve eaten too much is not something anyone enjoy. Admittedly though it can be fun to see how much you can actually eat without exploding. When we do this we are obviously not doing it for our health, and it is an unhealthy and wasteful way to approaching eating
Whenever you feel like eating too much, there are three approaches that I like to take. One you can remember how terrible you feel after eating too much. The second is you can do some mental math to figure out how many miles you’ll after to run to burn of the food. For example, the average piece of cheesecake is 1500 calories, so that equals running about 15 miles. Lastly, try to put how much you are eating in the context of the world. There are tons of people out there who are starving, so you’re kind of being a jerk by stuffing your face.
Conclusion: Try To Be Consistent
The more you practice not attaching emotions to food the easier it’ll be to not do so. Just like any learned skill it requires some dedication. In the long run, learning to eat for nourishment rather than for emotional gratification will enhance your experience of food. You’ll learn to savor every bit of the foods that make you feel your best.