I keep eating even when I’m full.
I always feel a need to eat. I always keep some snacks nearby.
I never feel full. I feel like I am going to feel weak if I don’t eat.
I only feel happy when I eat. The only thing I enjoy in my life is eating. What would I do without it?
Sound familiar? If so, ask yourself these questions:
What do I feel when I need to eat? What emotion do I feel when I crave food?
Do I eat when I’m angry, anxious, or stressed?
Do I eat to fight boredom?
Do I eat to fight loneliness?
Do I eat to reward myself?
Do I eat because I don’t know how to deal with negative emotions?
Do I feed my body or my emotions?
Emotional eating is a defense mechanism against stress.
Constant eating is a way to deal with negative emotions, just like all other addictions. Overeating causes unintended results such as weight gain and health problems. Weight is actually not the problem itself, but rather is a symptom. This symptom is a reflection of other problems that lie deep inside. Just like drinking and smoking, eating can also suppress your worries temporarily. How many times have you visited the fridge even though you are not hungry? Why did you do so? To avoid a problem? To soothe your stress? Everybody has difficulties in life. The important thing, however, is how you deal with them. Even if your relationship with eating hasn’t been very healthy up until now, you can still change it now. Let’s take a look at the path you can take to end emotional eating:
Be aware of your eating habits.
In order to solve your emotional eating problems, you must first recognize your eating habits. What time do you eat the most during the day? Do you eat more when bored or alone? Do your food choices usually include high-calorie foods or sweets? How big are your portions? Do you hurry when eating? Where is your mind while eating?
Stop conditioning happiness with food.
Similar to other addictions, constant eating stimulates the reward mechanism in the brain. The short-termed feeling of relief when eating causes the pattern to repeat: Negative emotions to trigger the same behavior later on. Continuing like this will cause you to feel happy only when eating. In order to break the “food equals happiness” conditioning in the brain, you should explore other ways of handling stress such as exercising, focusing on things other than eating, or spending more time with the people you love.
Face your negative feelings.
The real function of emotional eating is to avoid facing negative feelings. Going on like this does not help with the problem and may cause you to gain weight or experience health problems. Eating sweets or high-calorie foods can relieve you temporarily, but your relationship with eating will become more and more unhealthy unless you find the source of the problem. Practicing introspection, trying to understand your negative emotions, and expressing learning to express them in a healthy way are the first steps to overcoming this problem. You can also consider psychological counseling from an expert.
Make peace with yourself and your body.
As with many psychological problems, emotional eating is caused by a distortion of your relationship with yourself. Hating yourself and your body not only does not solve the problem but is actually the source of the problem itself. Eating to escape problems or lack of love is like force-feeding a baby who actually wants attention. It is not possible to lead a healthy life without love and trust. If you give these to yourself first, you will see that those around you will change and become more loving and trusting. Loving and trusting yourself is a wonderful present to give yourself and those around you!
Don’t forget that a healthy and joyful life begins with the relationship that you build with yourself. Don’t hesitate to seek support in this matter.