Why Emotional Eating is Such a Problem (and the solution!)

Zelda Okia, MDUncategorizedLeave a Comment

Do you overeat, and then beat yourself up for overeating? Many of my clients eat whenever they feel negative emotions. Yet they seem to feel negative emotions every day, so they emotionally eat every day.

Tell me if you feel this way:

“I am obsessed with food.”

“Eating makes me calm down.”

“Eating makes me feel safe.”

I get it. I remember when I started on my weight loss journey and the dreaded “cookie table”

We had this break room at work and we had to pass through it to go in and out of the building. There was a table in there that was always filled with cakes, cookies, potato chips, peanuts, etc.

On good days, I could walk right past this treat table and not even think twice about it. But there were certain days when I would stop, look at all the delicious treats, and find something there to eat.  One day after I had taken a handful of potato chips, I thought about what happened on that particular day that caused me to eat those potato chips.

Now, if there were birthdays or other celebrations, I would eat from the treat table. But this was a ‘joy eat’ planned at least 24 hours in advance.

On the days when I gave in to a sudden urge for an unplanned treat, I was often upset about something. It may have been a long day, I was tired, I had a difficult case, or one of my co-workers said something that upset me.

I thought about other times that I had eaten treats from the table and I realized that every time I ate a treat to satisfy an urge, it was usually because I was upset.

That was very eye-opening for me. Many of my clients also overeat when they are feeling strong emotions.

They may actually be angry, lonely, overwhelmed, or tired; and it all feels like hunger. Maybe when they feel out of control around food, it was because they are unable to handle negative emotions.

They feel powerless against the onslaught of out of control negative emotions. They may wake up feeling angry, lonely, sad, or depressed. I have mornings like that. I just want to turn over, put the blankets over my head, stay in bed, and eat all day.

Yet, when I force myself to get up, take my shower, drink my coffee and get into my car and go, I find myself feeling much better.

Through weight loss and mindset coaching, I learned that it is my thoughts that create my feelings.

I found this statement quite liberating and empowering. It takes me out of being a victim to my negative emotions. I can focus my mind on thoughts that create the feelings that I need to carry me through any difficult situation.

Alternatively, knowing that my thoughts create my feelings, whenever I am having a difficult emotion, I can sit with it, analyze it, and search it to find what thought is causing it.

I find that when I view thoughts and emotions in this light, I am less inclined to obsess about food or eat treats off the break room table.

Do you emotionally eat? What are some of your most common triggers? Comment below!

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