“The cycle is never identical,” says Erika Nicole Kendall, the author behind the award-winning blog “A Black Girls Guide” to Losing Weight and certified personal trainer and nutritionist with NASM certification. “Something stressful occurs at home, work or at school or on the road on your commute, or anywhere else. It’s out of control, and you’re unable to combat it, and you aren’t sure how to fix or solve it. The anxiety is a burden literally and metaphorically to the point that you are able to think and feel more slowly and act like you’re under stress.”
To deal with stress You take a bite. “It may include something sweet or salty, fatty, or something that you’re emotionally attached to It doesn’t matter. You consume it which makes you feel healthier,” Kendall says. “This happens because of the stress of food and it’s going to get you every time.”
What is emotional eating?
The practice of stress eating is a type of eating that is emotional, and is described as eating “in the midst of an emotional state, rather than craving,” says Gaby Vaca-Flores who is a registered dietitian and co-founder of Glow+Greens an organization that specializes in a firm that specializes in nutrition and skin care with its headquarters within Santa Monica, California. “Stress is among the primary causes behind emotional eating. When you are in high or prolonged states of stress, your cortisol levels of the body may become increase. The cortisol levels of high levels can affect our appetite hormones as well as the drive to consume food.”
Erin Holley, a registered dietitian working Erin Holley, a registered dietitian at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in Columbus and notes that even though emotional eating is often considered to be an undesirable thing, however, there are instances where it could be positive. beneficial experience. for instance “celebrating the achievement of a colleague by hosting a dinner party.”
Vaca-Flores is in agreement, stating that “most people have been taught to connect food and happiness. In this way, many choose to celebrations of joy with food and beverages,” such as birthday cakes or celebratory drinks.
She also says that “during difficult moments, turning to foods that are tasty or familiar can provide a sense of relief and, sometimes, an illusion of control over our emotions.”
But, if you are using food as a way to ease the pressure of difficult or stressful emotions like sadness, boredom, stress, or loneliness it could turn into a stressful situation that could result in negative health consequences.
“It can make us feel physically and psychologically exhausted to make use of food in this manner,” Holley says.
It could also cause an increase in weight.
Everybody and everyone are able to engage in eating disorders that are emotional. “Our human experience makes all of us vulnerable to some type of emotional eating habits,” Holley says. “But specifically, people who are struggling to express emotions or keep a balance between work and life are more likely to indulge in some form of emotional eating.”
Furthermore, “people who have a past history of eating disorders and who do not have the strategies or tools in place to deal with stress-inducing, stressful situations are more likely to take part with emotional eating” According to Vaca-Flores.
How to Tell If You’re Emotionally Food-related
Involving in frequent emotional eating or even subsequently slipping into a cycle of binge-purge that involves eating too much and then reducing your intake to combat the urge to binge – could be harmful to your health since it could add weight and create the feeling of being an ashamed or complete eating disorder. There are warning signs to look out for prior to reaching the point of a diagnosis Holley suggests.
“Watch to see if your body is disengaged from the body” when you eat according to her advice take a look at these questions:
- Are you eating food when there’s no physical hunger?
- Are you eating food because you’re bored?
- It is a tradition to grab a bowl of popcorn when you watch a tv show or movie in the evening to relax.
- Are you completely lost and then before you know it, your hand is on the bottom of your bag or you’ve eaten that entire bag of Oreos?
The Vaca-Flores report also includes additional questions to be considered:
- Have you been eating more food than you typically consume in a single meal? “This could indicate that you might be disconnected from your hunger cues and rather eating to satisfy an emotional need,” Vaca-Flores says.
- Are you tempted to eat foods that you wouldn’t normally consume, like dessert after dinner? “Reaching for food items which aren’t part of your typical menu could mean the desire for comfort in your food choices,” Vaca-Flores explains.
- Are you eating at an odd time? “If there’s a change in your food habits outside your normal eating time, it could be a sign that you eating because of emotions rather than hunger,” VacaFlores says.
If you have answered “yes” to any of these questions it’s probably an appropriate time to take a look at the reasons behind your eating.
Strategies to Cope with Emotional eating
Holley states that, most importantly, it’s crucial to “give yourself the space to experiment with these (emotional food) without judgment. Beating yourself up and beating yourself on the inside isn’t going to help you come up with an answer or change your habits.”
In the next step, she suggests slowing down eating and insisting on paying focus on the reason for eating. “If you’re eating to satisfy physical hunger, it’s normal and it’s okay to keep eating.”
However, if you discover that you’re eating more often than your stomach is empty, she suggests “take time to stop and consider the reasons you’re reaching for food at that point. Consider whether there is a solution to satisfy that needs, apart from food. Do you require a method to relax, like watching a film or reading? Perhaps you require connectivity and are able to connect with someone in your family or your friend.”
Be aware of what you’re feeling right now. “Negative emotions are an inexplicable element within our daily lives,” said VacaFlores. “We aren’t able to control when they’ll occur. But, we can attempt to manage how our negative emotions affect us.”
Vaca-Floresrecommends implementing coping mechanisms, such as “shifting your mindset about food as a comforting response. For example, if you usually rely on food after having a bad day, you could try replacing it with a different thing,” such as going out for a walk or calling a friend, or reading a great book.
Another method is to keep a food diary. Noting down the food and drinks you eat, as well as the way you feel in these moments will assist you in keeping track of the food you consume and what it is for. Being able to read everything on paper with black-and-white images could reveal the extent to which emotional eating is a regular event to you, as a way to deal with the challenges of life.
Food as a way to avoid confronting difficult emotions is a popular method, but if aren’t willing to confront your emotions and face them, you could be heading to a hard road, Kendall says.
“Using food to ease emotional stress is what triggers addiction and is actually a form of using a substance to cope with emotional pain, Kendall states. Kendall adds that research has discovered that people who use foods “experience the same neurological signals and reactions as those who are addicted to substances like heroin or cocaine.”
The problem is that you require food to live. “An addiction to food is double-edged since you are unable to be without food – you only have to learn to consume food in a mindful manner,” Kendall says. Similar to exercise addiction, food addiction can be a difficult health issue to address.
Not Every Emotional Eating Is the same
It is also important to emphasize the fact that eating out for emotional reasons, as well as food binge, are two distinct aspects. “It’s possible to binge-eat and use it to relieve stress however emotional eating is not the same as eating binge,” Holley says.
For further clarification of the issue, she states “typically binge eating is defined as eating a significant quantity of food within an extremely short time. A binge-eating disorder is typically associated with feelings of being completely out of control or that you’re unable to quit eating.”
The author adds she believes that “all binge eating is emotionally driven however, not all eating out for emotional reasons is binge. For instance, I could decide to order from a fast food restaurant for dinner in the wake of a difficult commute, but this does not necessarily mean I’m eating a lot or binge eating.”
However, if you’re having binge eating episodes, “don’t be afraid to seek assistance,” Holley says. “There’s no need to feel embarrassed about seeking assistance” and she suggests seeking out an eating disorder-trained counselor or dietitian to assist you in changing your emotional eating and binge eating habits to a more positive relationship with food.