What Causes Emotional Eating And How Can You Stop It?

Emotional Eating

Do you feel like eating something when upset or things just do not work out the way expected? This syndrome is known as “emotional eating” and affects both men and women. However, recent studies have shown that women are more prone to emotional eating than men. Now, if you are wondering why, stay tuned till the end of this post as it explains the reasons that cause emotional eating and the ways to stop it.

Supress And Soothe Their Emotions

Individuals often emotionally reach out for some sort of food several times in a week or even more to soothe and suppress negative feelings. They even feel shame or experience guilt after eating too much and suffer from other health issues like weight gain and laziness. 

Discover The Causes Of Emotional Eating

Anything right from stress at work to financial anxiety can cause emotional eating. However, the most common cause of the above practice of eating excess food can be relationship or health issues. Since, women are more emotional than men, they often resort to finding comfort in food when upset or sad. 

Why Reach Out For Food?

When one experiences negative emotions, it leads to a feeling of emptiness or a complete emotional void. Food is often regarded to an easy way to fill in this void and create a false sensation of wholeness or fullness. Besides negative emotions, other factors that lead to emotional eating are –

  • Retreating from all forms of social support during the times of emotional needs 
  • Non-engagement in activities that might otherwise alleviate sadness, depression, stress etc 
  • Not understanding the difference between emotional and physical hunger
  • Negative self-talk that leads on to bingeing. This results in a cycle of regular emotional torture that leads to urge to eat. 
  • Fluctuating levels of cortisol in response to emotional stress leading to food cravings. 

Physical Versus Emotional Hunger 

It is natural for everyone to be confused about hunger and food. Remember there is a key difference between physical and emotional hunger. In order to combat emotional eating, this difference should be clearly understood. The following table will help-

Physical Hunger Emotional Hunger
Develops slowly over time Surfaces suddenly or abruptly 
One desires a variety of food groups One wants a certain type of food 
You experience the sensation of fullness and this is the cue to stop eating  You tend to binge on food and do not experience the feeling of fullness 
There are no negative feelings about eating  You feel guilt and shame about eating 

Ways To Stop Emotional Eating

Emotional Eating

  1. Emotional Hunger Will Never Be Fulfilled With Food- Eating food when negative feelings or emotions surface will make you feel more upset. This cycle never ends. Seek help for your emotional needs.
  2. Beat Stress In Other Ways– Discovering ways to overcome stress and associated negative feelings is your first step to conquer emotional eating. Exercise, sports, writing a journal or reading a book will help you cope with the stress of the day and make you relaxed. 
  3. Exercise And Go Out– Move your body and go out in the nature. Exercise, take a walk and feel the nature around you. Even a yoga routine will help you alleviate negative emotions and stress. Meditation also helps and, in these ways, you effectively are able to curb emotional eating as well!

Emotional eating is not a disease or an illness. You can identify its triggers and embrace ways to stop it. Keep a record of the food you eat and identify signs that trigger the urge to eat. In case, you are struggling with your eating habits, seek medical intervention. In this way you can reduce the urge for food when upset and win the battle against emotional eating with success!

Related posts

Leave a Comment