If you struggle with emotional eating, you are not alone. Many people struggle with frequent episodes of overeating. They feel frustrated at themselves, try harder, and fail again. Why does this happen?
We learn at a very young age that eating is pleasant and soothing. At holidays and special occasions we celebrate with sweets and special foods. We appreciate that food means comfort and fun. However, eating can become a way of helping ourselves feel better, even when we are not hungry.
There is nothing wrong with enjoying a meal or rewarding yourself with your favorite food now and then. Yet when food becomes your calming mechanism of choice, you end up in a vicious circle. Since eating can numb your emotions, you might not even be aware of the triggers that lead you to emotional eating. What felt good at the moment ends up making you crazy later on. You beat yourself up and believe you must want to actively sabotage yourself. This negative self-talk will further your need for emotional eating as you try to sooth and numb your negative emotions.
You want to get out of this negative cycle of emotional eating. By gaining confidence in addressing your emotions directly, you can learn to eat with joy not guilt. In therapy we work on expanding your emotional toolkit, so you have a choice when it comes to your emotions. Eating should be fun - you can get there!
Healthy Eating throughput the Life-Span
As you move through your body changes. Variations in hormones, life long stress responses, and a more sedentary life style lead to weight gain for many people. Weight that you could previously loose through a short-term diet now sticks onto you for dear life. If you struggle with emotional eating issues, you will be even more apt to gaining weight.
What felt like a manageable nuisance before, can feel now like an insurmountable problem. Trying to control weight, you might be eating in wrong intervals and portions, with an imbalance of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. As you skip meals you find yourself overeating at other times. Many people end up nutritionally deprived, feeling sluggish. This can lead to increased risk of illness, depression or anxiety.
Eating right can be a rewarding journey into exploring what nourishes you physically and emotionally. As you grow older, you bring your life experience with you. You look back at other battles in life that you’ve overcome and that have given you confidence to push forward. You can leave things behind that don’t matter and focus on what’s essential.
Changing your eating patterns and addressing emotional barriers, can reward you with increased energy, a vital body that stays at a healthy weight, and a more optimistic view of the future.
Please know, as a Nutrition and Wellness Consultant, I advice on nutritional choices that are appropriate for healthy adults and children. If you have any medical issues that require a specific diet seek the help of a Registered Dietitian (RD).