How can you end emotional eating?
Eating for emotional reasons is normal—we all do it! As humans we associate food with pleasure and comfort from our first moments of feeding, to birthday cakes, to pleasant memories of backyard burgers with our families.
Food adds pleasure and comfort to our lives in many ways that are deeply tied to traditions as well as our emotions and memories. And there is nothing wrong with that!
So how does emotional eating become a problem for many people?
Why you eat is as important as what you eat!
In my video, Why do I keep struggling with the same eating issues?, I shared the realization that why I was eating affected every decision that followed, including my food choices. So, when I am eating because of emotional triggers, it affects when I feel like eating, what I want to eat, how I eat it, and definitely how much I eat!
So think about why you eat, when you eat, and what you eat and let’s do a little more work to figure out the clues left by your emotional eating triggers.
It is clear from your comments on that video that you want to end emotional eating that disconnects you from taking care of your true needs, so you can live fully and vibrantly. But how do you know what those needs are?
Look for clues in your emotions.
When a craving doesn’t come from hunger, eating probably won’t satisfy it. Your emotions give you clues about how to meet your true needs.
Emotional Eating and the Overeating Cycle
Eating out of habit or for emotional reasons can create a predictable pattern called the Overeating Cycle.
Decode your emotions.
Identifying why you eat is sometimes the easy part.
So, you know you eat when you’re sad. Now, what do you do about it?
Many of you shared that you struggle food and want to end emotional eating. Use the fill-in-the-blank script I shared with you in the video to decode you emotions:
- Think about a situation when you are more likely to overeat.
- Identify the emotion(s) you typically experience in that situation.
- Think about what that emotion is telling you about your underlying need(s).
- Now, what is one small step you can take now to meet that need more effectively than eating?
Next, in this video, I shed light on a very common but often unrecognized trigger for overeating.
(This article has been updated from a previously published version.)
Did you enjoy this post? Check out these other posts on emotional eating and mindful eating:
We explore all these topics in detail in our Level 1 Mindful Eating Support Community. Click here to learn more!