A lot of the time, we eat just because......
Do you look into the fridge, wondering what you might like to try next?
Do you eat a family-sized chocolate bar and then wonder why you did it?
Do you enjoy indulging in treats only to feel angry with yourself afterwards?
Don't be too hard on yourself because it might be an emotional eating disorder, and you can control that.
Here are five reasons you might not be able to stop eating
Emotional eating can directly result from not being conscious of what or why you're eating. Unconscious eating is when you're full, but you continue picking at your meal, slowly eating the remaining portion you intended to leave behind has disappeared. It can also be putting peanuts, sweets or any other food in your mouth just because it's in front of you.
The answer? Try to remain mindful of what and when you're eating. It might sound tedious at first, but start slowly and avoid judging yourself whilst you try it out.
You use food as a comfort.
Do you think "I would have nothing to look forward to if I didn't eat?"
At the end of a long and hectic day, a big bowl of ice cream can be especially effective in temporarily soothing your exhausted, hard-working self. Why? According to many sources, eating sugars and fats releases opioids into our brains. Opioids are the active ingredients in cocaine, heroin, and many other drugs. The calming, soothing effects you feel when you eat ice cream and crisps are real, and breaking the habits can be like kicking a drug habit.
The answer? Find other ways to reward and soothe yourself besides food. Will these different ways be as soothing as food? Absolutely not! The things you come up with will help a little, but to give up emotional eating, you'll also have to practice tolerating difficult feelings.
This leads us to…...
Using food as a coping mechanism
In our culture, we learn from a young age to avoid things that feel bad. Unfortunately, the ways we have found to distract ourselves from difficult feelings are not always in our best interests. You're susceptible to emotional eating without the ability to tolerate experiencing life's inevitable negative feelings.
The answer? Practice letting yourself experience difficult feelings. I know; it's much easier said than done! I know you don't like feeling mad, sad, rejected, and bored. You might think, "What's the point in feeling mad? It doesn't change anything." And whilst it may not change the source of your anger, it will prevent you from having to blunt your feelings with behaviours you'd like to stop — like eating.
It may sound crazy, but it's true. Hating your body is one of the most significant factors in emotional eating. Negativity, shame, and hatred rarely inspire people to make long-lasting, significant changes, especially concerning our bodies or our sense of self. I used to think I would stop hating my body after I reached my goal weight. Now I know you have to stop hating your body before you can control the emotional eating cycle.
The answer? Unfortunately, this one is complicated and unique for each person. To truly make lasting progress requires more than just a short post; there is good news....I'll let you know that at the end.
Letting yourself get too hungry or tired is the best way to leave yourself vulnerable to emotional eating. When your body is hungry or tired, it not only sends strong messages to your brain that signal it to eat, but when you're hungry and tired, you're not in top form, which leaves us less equipped to fight off cravings or urges.
The solution? You guessed it! Get plenty of sleep, and eat several small meals during the day. I know you're going to tell me that you don't have time, but if your goal is to stop emotional eating, you will have to make yourself a priority.
Emotional eating is a powerful and effective way to find temporary relief from many of life's challenges. If it didn't work, nobody would do it. To stop the emotional eating cycle, you must commit to reaching deep inside yourself and find the strength to make changes for good.
Talk to me about emotional eating help. You don't have to do it alone