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28.04.2016

Identifying Emotional Eating

Do you reward yourself with food? Do you eat when you’re not hungry, when you feel stressed or even when you’re full? Do you lose control with food or feel weak to say “No” or “Enough”?

The consumption of food is not just a process that occurs to satisfy our hunger. We turn to food for an array of reasons: To relieve tension, as a reward or for nurturing purposes. Unfortunately, our emotional state cannot be improved solely in this way. Usually, turning to food makes us feel worse, since the original feeling that led us to eat in the first place remains, and we probably end up feeling guilty for overeating.

Identifying the symptoms

If you’re the type of person who leaves a little room for dessert while you’re already full or you eat sweets when you do not feel well, then you’ve lived the experience of "emotional" eating. When you use food to cover up any emotional needs and not only to satisfy hunger, then you’re essentially "eating your feelings".

At times, using food to reward your self, to feel better or to celebrate a special occasion, is not necessarily a bad thing. However, when food becomes the main emotional management mechanism and your first impulse is to open the fridge whenever you feel upset, alone, angry or exhausted, then you end up trapped in a vicious circle where the primary emotions or the cause are not treated.

"Emotional hunger" cannot be covered solely with food. You may feel instant relief, but the feelings that caused the ‘need’ for food consumption remain. To boot, you may also feel guilty for overeating or blame yourself that you do not have enough will. In the end, you will find the appropriate means of managing your emotions, maintaining your body weight becomes even more difficult and you will feel increasingly powerless against both food and your feelings.

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