Emotional eating is turning to food for comfort, stress relief, or as a reward rather than to satisfy hunger. Most emotional eaters feel powerless over their food cravings. When the urge to eat hits, it’s all you can think about.
What situations and emotions could prompt you to eat??
- Stress: When stress is chronic, as it so often is in our chaotic, fast-paced world, it leads to high levels of the stress hormone, cortisol. Cortisol triggers cravings for salty, sweet, and high-fat foods—foods that give you a burst of energy and pleasure.
- Social: Being encouraged by others to eat, or eating to fit in.
- Emotional: Eating in response to unpleasant feelings, like fatigue and anxiety, or to fill the void due to loneliness.
- Thoughts: Eating because of a negative self-image.
- Situational: Eating because the opportunity is there, like when you see a food advertised or when you pass a bakery. You might also eat whenever you do certain activities, like going to the movies or watching TV.
- Physiological: Eating in response to physical cues, such as a headache or an appetite increased because you skipped a meal.
- Childhood habits: Parents reward good behavior with ice cream, pizza ,or sweets…These emotionally-based childhood eating habits often carry over into adulthood. Or perhaps some of your eating is driven by nostalgia—for cherishes memories of grilling burgers in the backyard with your dad, baking and eating cookies with your mom, or gathering around the table with your extended family for a home-cooked pasta dinner.
Of course, this kind of eating does not come without negative side effects. Following are three of the most common.
Guilt : After the emotional “danger” has passed and the emotional overeater has eaten, they’re usually filled with remorse and guilt for what they’ve done. This guilt can lead to another emotional eating outburst or low self-esteem.
Nausea : Because the feeling of food in the stomach serves as a distraction to the emotions they’re trying to avoid, emotional eaters often overeat or eat very quickly and experience stomach pain or nausea later. This can last for one or two days after the actual eating.
Weight-related health problems : Diabetes, high blood pressure, fatigue, and high cholesterol are all health problems that can result from repetitive emotional eating outbursts. It’s not worth risking your health to hide your emotions.
How to Stop emotional eating
“Self-compassion is the first step toward learning to comfort yourself in other ways.” —Leslie Becker Phelps, PhD
Mindful eating is a practice that develops your awareness of eating habits and allows you to pause between your triggers and your actions. You can then change the emotional habits that have sabotaged your diet in the past.
- If you’re depressed or lonely, call someone who always makes you feel better, play with your dog or cat, or look at a favorite photo or cherished memento.
- If you’re anxious, expend your nervous energy by dancing to your favorite song, squeezing a stress ball, or taking a brisk walk.
- If you’re exhausted, treat yourself with a hot cup of tea, take a bath, light some scented candles, or wrap yourself in a warm blanket.
- If you’re bored, read a good book, watch a comedy show, explore the outdoors, or turn to an activity you enjoy (woodworking, playing the guitar, shooting hoops, scrapbooking, etc.)
Hypnosis and emotional eating
Hypnosis is the perfectly natural state of mind that all human beings experience thousands of times during their lives. Hypnosis is a heightened state of suggestibility, the bypass of the critical factor and the establishment of acceptable selective thinking.
The aim of this therapy is to use the power of suggestion to change habits and thoughts surrounding certain things. For example, hypnotherapy for eating disorders would look to facilitate a change in thinking when it comes to eating.
Understanding the root cause of eating disorders can be useful for recovery. For this, regression techniques can prove helpful. These tap into your subconscious to reveal an event, comment or situation that may have contributed to the development of your eating disorder.
Hypnotherapy for eating disorders may also involve Neuro Linguistic programming. This can be used in various ways. One way may be to help you remember how you coped with distressing emotions before you developed an eating disorder.
Using positive suggestions under hypnosis can also help you change the way you think about yourself. Learning to love yourself again is an important part of the recovery process. You can also learn new ways of thinking about eating, gradually improving your relationship with food.
Hypnotherapy can also be used to help you cope with issues related to eating disorders. For example, you may suffer with anxiety or stress. Hypnotherapy can help you learn to relax and improve your overall well-being. Issues like low self-esteem and low self-confidence can also be addressed through hypnotherapy.
Mindful eating exercise
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The information provided on this website is for educational purposes only; without any intention of commercialism. It’s not meant to diagnose or treat any health condition and is not a replacement for treatment by a healthcare provider.