When you have a craving what types of food do you most crave? Well, if you’re like many people, you will say that you crave some form of carbs – they don’t call it comfort food for nothing! Whether it’s mashed potatoes, chips, ice cream, or sweet desserts… these are some of the foods that are easy to overeat because they give a quick burst of energy and make us feel “better” (in the short term), but unfortunately we tend to regret these food choices later. Many people use these foods to self medicate, to feel better instead of dealing with all sorts of emotions… food then becomes a drug of choice instead of nourishment for the body.
If you are not sure if you’re an emotional eater (someone who uses food to deal with their emotions) you may want to ask yourself these questions:
Do you eat when you are feeling stressed?
Do you eat even though you are not physically hungry or after you’re full?
Do you eat to make yourself feel better?
Do you reward yourself with food?
Do you feel powerless or out of control around food?
If you eat for these reasons, there is a good chance that you’re eating emotionally. Some other reasons people eat when not physically hungry are:
Lack of purpose
Sadness or loneliness
Feeling frustrated or angry
Not feeling valued
Avoidance or procrastination
Many people may tend to feel guilty after an emotional eating episode and will then punish themselves by going on a restrictive diet. This is the worst thing that one can do as it can set up a pattern of “yo-yo dieting”. Instead, we recommend getting to the root cause to find out what’s really bothering you — and then deal with that. For example, if you are eating because you are bored, find an activity that you can fully immerse yourself in instead of reaching for that carton of ice cream. Pick up the phone and call a friend or relative to connect if you feel yourself wanting to order a pizza because you’re alone. When you get to the root causes of why you emotionally overeat, you will not only nourish your spirit, but eventually you will make better and healthier food choices, as well!