Eating Your Emotions
Have you ever felt like you either had to avoid eating a certain type of food, or you had to eat it all, and there was no in-between? This way of thinking is often linked to emotional eating and can cause you to feel out of control with food. Emotional eating can impact your ability to cope with emotions in healthy ways. There is a way to break these habits and establish healthy eating patterns.
One of the most common emotional reasons for eating is a desire for comfort. However, while food may offer some temporary relief, the most common feelings that come after comfort eating are shame, guilt, or self-loathing. In addition to these emotional consequences, comfort eating often results in physical discomfort and digestive issues, which are anything but comforting.
Consider the following steps to combat any type of emotional eating:
Find healthy ways to manage emotions. Many individuals find it easier to numb their emotions rather than actually feeling them. Geneen Roth, author and expert on emotional eating, has said, “If you don’t allow a feeling to begin, you also don’t let it end.” Professional counselors often help individuals learn how to experience, process, and work through varied emotions in healthy ways. One strategy you can use is to make a list of self-soothing strategies, and refer to that list when you want to eat for comfort. This list may include ideas for social connection, relaxation, physical activity, journaling, or self-pampering.
Eat enough during the day. Not eating enough during the day not only slows your metabolism down, it also sets you up for extreme hunger and overeating later in the day. When extreme hunger sets in, you may eat so quickly that you reach an uncomfortable level of fullness. Even if you think you are not hungry during the day, you have likely gotten so used to your pattern of eating that you easily ignore hunger. By the end of the day when you have more down time, your brain has time to register how hungry you are. If you feel ravenous, you likely did not get enough to eat during the day… (read the rest of the story)
Written by: Lauren Absher, MPH, RD, CD
Originally published by Utah Valley Health and Wellness magazine