Lately, have you found yourself eating to “numb out” your emotions? Or eating to out of boredom?
Maybe you had a frustrating day … or feeling anxious … or sad. Or maybe you’re tired or just out of sorts.
And then … either to cope, relax, you end up diving into some chips or ice cream … or treating yourself to a pizza or a rich take-out meal.
All of us have been there at one point or another, even before our current coronavirus concerns.
That’s called emotional eating. It’s a REAL thing, and I have some tips for you, especially if you are concerned about overdoing it during this time.
Emotional eating is so common! According to the American Psychological Association, at least one-third of people have reported they eat more when they’re stressed. I can alone assume from my experience that these numbers are most likely much higher these days.
Emotional eating usually starts when we are very young ... and over the years it becomes a habit, so we don’t even realize we’re doing it.
The very first part of understanding how it affects you is to ask yourself a simple question every time you eat.
Now … it’s super important not to do this with any judgment … because you’re asking it to simply gather information.
Here’s the question …
WHY are you eating?
If it’s not because you’re physically hungry, dig a little deeper.
Are you upset about something? Are you bored? Or are you eating because you always eat at this time of day? Or … did you “earn” it by accomplishing a goal or doing something well?
Again, don’t judge your answers. Just acknowledge them!
Over time, as you ask yourself WHY you’re eating, you’ll probably notice some patterns.
Here are some common signs you might be engaging in emotional eating:
First, the hunger comes on pretty fast. One minute you’re feeling normal, the next you want to eat.
Second, you’re only craving certain kinds of foods. Those foods are often comforting snacks and probably aren’t a salad or an everyday meal.
Third, if you do decide to eat, you don’t feel full or satisfied and want to keep eating.
And finally, once you do stop, you feel a little guilty or regret what you ate.
Here’s one more thing to watch out for when emotional eating ...
It may be a little controversial but I see this a LOT on social media …but if you think or say to yourself, “I deserve this!” when it comes to particular food, chances are you aren’t eating because you’re physically hungry. You might be rewarding yourself with food.
Now, like I said, this is not about judging or beating yourself up for emotional eating.
That’s exactly the opposite of what I’m suggesting!
Instead, it’s about NOTICING the patterns. That knowledge gives you so much power!
It lets you become more mindful of your thoughts and your actions & habits. You actually can start making CHOICES vs. reacting out of habit or old patterns.
And if you decide you really WANT that food you “deserve,” or to celebrate a success with a feast, that’s awesome.
But if you decide that particular snack or meal isn’t worth it because it’ll set you back from your goals, the important thing is that YOU made the decision …. instead of just coasting on autopilot.
I am here to support you. We are all in this together. If you need some help with your nutrition and outdoor or at-home fitness, check out the SimplyFit programs and free guides here>