Photo by Helena Lopes on Unsplash
It’s a sad and stressful night, you rush to the fridge or the pantry, grab some food and desserts, then you go sit on a couch munching mindlessly on sweets, a bag of chips, or an ice cream tub, yet you don’t feel full. In case you’ve experienced this before but can’t find an explanation, this is known as ‘emotional eating’. Some may call it ‘stress eating’, but accurately it is ‘emotional eating’ as this we experience not only during stress, but also other negative emotions such as anger, sadness, frustration, and loneliness.
But why do we resort to food?
Negative emotions like sadness, stress, and anger lead to a feeling of emptiness,
and accordingly, we resort to food for comfort and as a way to fill the void.
How to tell the difference between real hunger and emotional hunger?
• The feeling builds gradually.
• You don’t necessarily get the urge to munch on chips, popcorn, or ice cream, and you consider other varieties.
• When you consume the necessary amount for the body, you start feeling full and stop eating.
• Hits suddenly
• You crave certain food mostly unhealthy like sweets and carbs.
• No matter how much you eat you don’t feel full.
How to Overcome Emotional Eating?
1. Monitor the way you eat so you identify whether it is emotional eating or real hunger.
2. Avoid shopping for unhealthy options and fill your fridge and pantry with healthier snacking alternatives
3. Eat slowly and engage your senses. Practice mindful eating by taking time to chew the food and enjoying the taste.
4. Find alternative ways to let out the negative emotions such as journaling, talking to a friend, going for walks in nature, or seeking professional help.
5. Start meditation