Are you an emotional eater?
- Do you eat more when you’re feeling stressed?
- Do you eat when you’re not hungry or when you’re full?
- Do you eat to feel better (to calm and soothe yourself when you’re sad, mad, bored, anxious, etc.)?
- Do you reward yourself with food?
- Do you regularly eat until you’ve stuffed yourself?
- Does food make you feel safe? Do you feel like food is a friend?
- Do you feel powerless or out of control around food?
You might reach for a pint of ice cream when you’re feeling down, order a pizza if you’re bored or lonely, or swing by the drive-through after a stressful day at work.
Emotional hunger comes on suddenly – It hits you in an instant and feels overwhelming and urgent.
Emotional hunger craves specific foods – emotional hunger craves junk food or sugary snacks that provide an instant rush.
Emotional hunger often leads to mindless eating – eating without really paying attention or fully enjoying what you eat.
Emotional hunger isn’t satisfied once you’re full – keep wanting more and more, often eating until you’re uncomfortably stuffed.
Emotional hunger often leads to regret, guilt, or shame – If you feel guilty after you eat, it’s likely because you know deep down that you’re not eating for nutritional reasons.
If you have an unproductive relationship with food:
- Look for and learn to identify emotional triggers, times when you are more likely to engage in emotional eating. Being able to identify those triggers allows me to stop and take a breath, and to think of a plan of action to avoid the binge.
- Plan your meals and never let myself go too long without eating. Excessive hunger triggers binge eating in the same way that my emotions do.
- Get plenty of sleep. People who do not get enough sleep tend to eat more than those that do.
- Exercise regularly—helps to reduce stress, and elevates your mood.
- Don’t let yourself isolate socially, especially when you are bored.
- Have a plan for boredom— leave the house and go to a movie or to the gym, or to a friend’s house, because boredom is one of the biggest eating triggers.
- Start to unravel the emotions that for so long you have shoved down your throat with food. Start making some decisions about how you want to live your life, and deciding that while you can not change the past, you can stop living there.