Emotional Eating: How To Stop Feeding Your Feelings

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pink pig
If you just ate dinner, but junk food is calling your name, then this is the article for you.

Amy made a delicious dinner for her family with strips of chicken, zucchini, peppers, onions, mushrooms, eggplant and tomatoes over whole wheat pasta. She even added some freshly grated parmesan cheese. Everyone loved it, and she ate slowly, enjoying each bite. She left the table feeling comfortably full and totally satisfied. Amy decided this healthy eating thing was a cinch!

She settled in her comfy recliner, remote in hand, to watch her favorite programs while the kids watched TV in their room. Hubby went back out for an evening business appointment. Amy was alone, relaxed, and mindlessly watching TV. Understanding Stress & How To Manage It

An hour and a half later, Amy remembered the bag of peanut butter cups in the pantry. She tried to reason with herself, telling herself she was not really hungry, she only ate an hour and a half ago, she doesn't need those extra calories ... too much sugar, too much fat ... the kids will notice they are missing ... her husband will notice they are missing ... who cares, I want one ... don't eat it ...  it will taste so good ... too many calories!

Amy became aware that she had missed the last several minutes of the program because of this conversation she just had with herself. She was so annoyed because it happened almost every night and she knew she was not hungry. Sometimes she "won," and sometimes she didn't.

What happens when we crave certain foods, but we are not physically hungry? How do we know the difference? How To Break Up With A Friend

When we are physically hungry:

  • It comes on gradually
  • We feel it in our belly
  • It happens a few hours after a meal
  • It goes away when we eat

When we want foods but are not physically hungry, we are experiencing emotional hunger:

  • We feel it above the neck, or as my kids used to call it, "mouth hunger"
  • It comes on suddenly
  • It can happen at any time, even if you recently ate a meal
  • It does not go away when you eat

When you are emotionally hungry, you may go from the fridge to the cabinet, picking at different foods, in an attempt to fill this hunger, usually unsuccessfully.

Once you become aware that you aren’t really hungry, try to put a name what you are feeling at that moment. Sometimes, just putting a name to it will give you enough awareness to stop the craving. If not, once you identify the feeling, you will need an alternative plan to deal with that feeling other than eating. How To Talk To Men

Amy became aware that she was truly just anxious about the presentation she was expected to give at work the following week. She kept putting it out of her conscious mind, so she did not have to deal with it until the last minute. Amy was a procrastinator and did all of her work right before it was due, causing even more anxiety. With guidance, she began to write down one step each night in preparation for the big presentation. She found chunking it down this way was really much easier than waiting till due day. Her cravings for the goodies decreased, much to her pleasure.

The next time you want to eat after a meal, ask yourself if you are really belly hungry or mouth hungry. Did it come on suddenly? What are you feeling? If you are actually physically hungry, eat real, whole food to satisfy your body’s needs. If you want sweets or other junk, figure out ... what am I really feeling?

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