After a long day at the office dealing with co-workers and clients, do you find yourself lost in a carton of Moose Tracks? I do! Emotional eating is the biggest weight-loss sabotage that everyone faces. It's easier to devoir a whole red velvet cake then face the problem at hand. Identifying the triggers to this mindless eating is a lot easier than you think.
First lets define emotional eating, often referred to as stress eating or eating out boredom. There is a difference between physical hunger and turning to food for comfort. When you are truly hungry, you are able to consciously select food to eat. Grabbing the first thing in sight while sad, lonely, overwhelmed, stressed, anxiety, or happy (Yes Happiness!) is considered emotional eating. Subconsciously, you are eating and not keeping track of the amount or calorie count until your at the bottom of the bag or container. After the food is gone, the original emotion (problem) is still there. Keeping a daily food journal and determining which eating sessions are emotional or physical hunger is the best way to identify your eating habits and stop this cycle.
Emotional hunger comes on suddenly while physical hunger comes on gradually.
The ability to put off eating is physical hunger. Most people prolong lunch to finish a task. Where as emotional hunger can't wait!
Continuous eating even with signs of fullness and unsatisfied with the food eaten is also emotional hunger. Physical hunger pains stop once the stomach is full.
After satisfying hunger, there should be no guilt or shame. Emotional hunger causes these feelings and physical hunger doesn't.
Once you separate physical hunger and emotional hunger pains, you can control your calorie intake by channeling the energy used to stuff your face into other activities. (Remember from time to time your body needs more calories then usual it's ok to eat a little extra. Also do not deny yourself occasional desserts, snacks, or treats.) Facing the problem at hand (i.e. Relationships, Work, and mental health) is a bigger task and sometimes can take time, but you do not need to turn to food in the process. Listed below are a few activities to try instead of munching on a bag of chips or cleaning out the candy dish.
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