What foods do you crave when you are sad, or angry, or bored? Many of us will reach for some ice cream or potato chips when we are moody. It feels like that bowl of Blue Bell will make everything better, but sadly, you still feel pretty rotten when you get to the bottom of the bowl. You may have tried to feed your emotions with food but have completely ignored the fact that you feel sad about a disagreement you had with a friend or your spouse.
That is called emotional eating--eating to feed an uncomfortable feeling, not your physical hunger. Emotional eating is a major cause of overeating. In fact, according to experts, 75% of overeating is caused by emotions.
Turning to food can become a bad habit that can stop you from learning the skills you need to actually take care of yourself when you are upset, and it can lead to overeating and lower self-esteem.
By identifying your own personal triggers, you can find better techniques for taking care of your yourself. This WebMd article talks about how to tell the difference between physical and emotional hunger, and gives some helpful ideas for managing emotional eating. A good first step is to ask yourself if you are actually hungry. If you are, find a healthy snack. If not, find other activities that are enjoyable to you such as reading a good book, taking a bubble bath, or talking to a friend. Keep a list of these activities so that you can go to it when you feel the urge to eat. The urge to eat will often pass after you engage in these types of activities. You can learn to stop feeding your emotions.
If you are having trouble getting hold of your emotional eating, a counselor can help. Please contact one of our Houston counselors to find out how you can make changes today.