What is Emotional Eating – ‘comfort eating’
Emotional eating is the practice of consuming large quantities of food — usually “comfort” or junk foods — in response to feelings instead of hunger. Experts estimate that 75% of overeating is caused by emotions.
Many of us learn that food can bring comfort, at least in the short-term. As a result, we often turn to food to heal emotional problems. Eating becomes a habit preventing us from learning skills that can effectively resolve our emotional distress.
Depression, boredom, loneliness, chronic anger, anxiety, frustration, stress problems with interpersonal relationships and poor self-esteem can result in overeating and unwanted weight gain.
By identifying what triggers our eating, we can substitute more appropriate techniques to manage our emotional problems and take food and weight gain out of the equation.
How Can I Identify Eating Triggers?
Situations and emotions that trigger us to eat fall into five main categories
Social. Eating when around other people. For example, excessive eating can result from being encouraged by others to eat; eating to fit in; arguing; or feelings of inadequacy around other people
- Emotional. Eating in response to boredom, stress, fatigue, tension, depression, anger, anxiety or loneliness as a way to “fill the void.
- Situational. Eating because the opportunity is there. For example, at a restaurant, seeing an advertisement for a particular food, passing by a bakery. Eating may also be associated with certain activities such as watching TV, going to the movies or a sporting event, etc
- Thoughts Eating as a result of negative self-worth or making excuses for eating. For example, scolding oneself for looks or a lack of will power
- Physiological Eating in response to physical cues. For example, increased hunger due to skipping meals or eating to cure headaches or other pain
At 2minds, we work with our clients by assisting them in making changes to their conscious and unconscious thought pattern which without the change may lead to one or more of the emotional triggers mentioned above. By making these changes we can work with our clients on a one to one basis to remove these unwanted behaviours.