Emotional eating is when we turn to food for comfort and not for hunger. In fact, emotional hunger can’t be filled with food. At the time you are eating the food it may feel good, but the feelings that triggered the eating are still there. Many times you feel worse. guilty and powerless because you were not able to control eating calories that were not necessary.
Are you an emotional Eater?
- Do you eat under stress to calm yourself even if you are not hungry?
- Do you reward yourself with food?
- Does eating fill a void for you to calm and sooth yourself?
- Do you eat when you mad, bored, sad or anxious?
- Do you feel powerless or out of control around food?
- Do you eat when you are not hungry or when you are full because the food is there?
- Do you feel out of control or powerless around food?
If you answered yes to any one of these questions you could be an emotional eater. My coaching sessions have helped many people overcome emotional eating and have learned to become a more mindful eater.
What is the difference between emotional hunger and physical hunger?
Emotional hunger can feel real and typically comes on very suddenly. For example under a stressful moment you have a craving. Physical hunger comes on more gradually and is your bodies way of saying “I need fuel”. There are no sudden triggers and it does not demand immediate satisfaction (unless you have waited to long to eat).
Emotional hunger often leads to mindless eating – you eat the food without even tasting or enjoying it because you just needed ate the entire pint of ice cream. With physical hunger, you enjoy the food, you taste it, smell it and are aware.
Emotional hunger craves specific comfort foods – Can you think of a time when you craved something sugary or fatty and nothing else sounded good? That is an emotional food hunger and with physical food hunger any food would do to keep your stomach satisfied.
Emotional hunger is not satisfied when you are full. I often tell my clients, “what if you ate only when your body called for food?” and you stopped when you were full? Emotional hunger allows you to eat until you fill stuffed and uncomfortable.
Emotional hunger makes you feel guilt, regret, shame at that moment. Emotional eating leaves you feeling this way mostly because you know you just ate for a reason other than nutrition.