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Emotional Eating: Why It Happens and How to Stop It

Emotional Eating: Why It Happens and How to Stop It

If you eat when you are stressed out, anxious, sad, or bored, you may be emotionally eating. Visit Lifelong Balance today to learn more about emotional eating and how to overcome it. For more information, contact us or schedule an appointment online. We are conveniently located at 660 Glades Road Suite 320 Boca Raton, FL 33431.

Emotional Eating Disorder Specialist Near Me in Boca Raton FL
Emotional Eating Disorder Specialist Near Me in Boca Raton FL

Table of Contents:

What do you mean by emotional eating?
What causes emotional eating?
How do I stop emotional eating?
How do I break my emotional eating cycle?

When we are upset, anxious, or frustrated, our bodies respond with a surge of hormones and chemicals that can make us feel tired, lethargic, and hungry. It is common to reach for food to calm these feelings, and it is also common to use food as a crutch when feeling sad or depressed. This is known as emotional eating, and it can be very easy to develop eating habits in these situations.

What do you mean by emotional eating?


Emotional eating, in its most general sense, is when an individual uses food to cope with their emotions instead of dealing with them directly. When someone is experiencing a difficult emotion like stress, anxiety, or sadness, it can be easy to reach for a bag of chips or a pint of ice cream instead of dealing with their emotions head-on, but this can actually make those emotions feel worse instead of better. When dealing with difficult feelings, it can be harder to make healthy eating decisions. Eating when stressed or bored can be a sign of a much bigger problem, such as a behavioral addiction. People who experience emotional eating often report feeling like they have no control over what they eat, despite knowing that what they are eating is bad for their health. In addition to this, it can be challenging to recognize when an individual is eating because they are upset or bored, versus when they are eating because their emotions took over their brain.

What causes emotional eating?


The causes of emotional eating include:

Lack of Awareness — One cause of emotional eating is lack of intention and conscious decision-making around eating. Known as “unconscious eating” by mental health professionals, this phenomenon is when someone continues munching on food scraps or leftovers after they have finished eating, even if they had originally intended to leave the rest behind. This is common with snacks and finger foods such as peanuts, chips, fries, or popcorn, although it can occur with any food, simply because it is within reach.

Body Dysmorphia — Dislike or hate toward one’s own body is one of the biggest causes of emotional eating. Negative body image and shame or hatred about personal physical appearance can cause emotional eating. While many people state that they will feel comfortable in their bodies after they reach their goal weight, it is vital to be accepting of one’s personal appearance first in order to end the emotional eating cycle of abuse.

Suppressed Feelings — In Western culture, we are taught to avoid bad feelings and anything that makes us feel bad, and this often results in suppressing our emotions which are commonly masked with unhealthy eating habits.

Individual Physiology — Being too hungry or tired can trigger emotional eating; the stomach sends strong messages to the brain to eat when feeling hungry, and these strong signals can make it harder to deal with cravings or urges. To prevent this, it is important to get plenty of sleep, drink lots of water, and eat several meals every day. If hunger strikes before the next meal, it is encouraged to eat healthy snacks in between.

How do I stop emotional eating?


Emotional eating can be stopped by:

• Looking at the way you eat
• Recognizing addictive behaviors
• Separating hunger cues from emotional cues
• Planning your meals
• Adjusting your eating patterns
• Finding what works best for you
• Substituting healthy behaviors for unhealthy ones
• Gathering support from friends and loved ones
• Learning to rely on yourself

How do I break my emotional eating cycle?


To break an emotional eating cycle:

Identify your emotional eating triggers, such as:

• Stuffing emotions
• Boredom or feelings of emptiness
• Childhood habits
• Social influences
• Keep an emotional eating diary
• Find other ways to feed your feelings
• Take 5 before giving in to cravings
• Learn to accept your feelings
• Indulge without overeating by savoring your food
• Practice mindful eating
• Support yourself with healthy lifestyle habits

If you eat when you are stressed out, anxious, sad, or bored, you may be emotionally eating. Visit Lifelong Balance today to learn more about emotional eating and how to overcome it. Contact us or schedule a consultation through our online booking system. The team at Lifelong Balance, Inc is ready to help you stay looking younger longer! We serve patients from Boca Raton FL, Kings Point FL, Deerfield Beach FL, Delray Beach FL, Hillsboro Pines FL, Mission Bay FL, and BEYOND!