The main reason we overeat is due to emotional eating. Other factors can include lack of education on the right foods to eat and unconscious eating. So, let’s get back to basics and look at why we overeat.
What is emotional eating/hunger?
Emotional eating is when we turn to food to deal with a stressful situation or ease negative emotions like sadness, boredom and even loneliness. When we do this, we are not eating to curb our hunger but to try and satisfy an emotional need. Most of our emotional eating depends on our mood at the time and what we may be thinking. It can stem from a negative childhood experience or from a feeling of not being good enough.
After we have a binge or overeat we feel worse as the emotional issue remains but now we add guilt to it. The fact is, overeating will not satisfy the emotion.
So what are the emotional eating triggers?
Eating our emotions: rather than feeling the emotion we suppress it with food. We can also
carry extra weight to protect ourselves; this can be because of emotional or physical abuse or simply not feeling we can stand up for ourselves so instead we defend ourselves by putting a layer of protection around us.
Boredom/loneliness: we try to fill a void in our life by eating and using our food as a comfort. Food is used as a distraction from feelings of dissatisfaction in your life.
Childhood habits: trying to recreate happy moments by eating ice cream for instance but also finishing all the food on your plate like your parents told you to.
Social situations: Eating to be accepted into a group. Ordering dessert because everybody else is or overeating because the food is in front of you.
Stress: feeling stressed increases cortisol in the body which can result in reaching for food for emotional relief and to relax.
Tiredness: feeling tired can lead to craving high energy foods like carbohydrates and sugar to feel energised.
We bring the solutions to you!
Recognise the emotional triggers above that might affect you and understand the cycle.
Become aware of what you are thinking and feeling or what situation you may be in when you start craving food and take a note of it.
Write down positive ways to deal with the trigger emotion that you've identified in step 1. This can be phoning a friend if you're lonely or having a bath if you're stressed and pampering yourself.
Look at your diet and start educating yourself on food. Learn about sugar and how it creates a cycle of lows and highs in your mood. Talk to your personal trainer on your diet and how you can combat sugar cravings.
Mindful eating. Eat consciously and become aware of how full you are becoming while you are eating. Take your time and savour the taste.
Love yourself and your body. Know that you are perfect in all your imperfections and worthy of a happy, healthy fit body.
Author: Gwen Kelly
Meet the writer of this post
Back to basics coaching
Read more about her profile here