Emotional Eating…To Eat Or Not To Eat?

By

Emotional Eating…To Eat Or Not To Eat?
Don't label yourself an emotional eater. Eat smarter and cultivate your mindfulness.

You're happy about your promotion so you celebrate with a nice, big dinner out. You're sad to be facing Valentine's Day without a date so you down a half-gallon of rocky road while watching Grey's. You're bored so you munch on whatever jumps out at you in the kitchen while checking your social media. Happy, sad, bored, they cover a pretty large swath of emotions. Probably the only emotion that doesn't trigger eating for many "emotional eaters" is fear. It's hard to eat on a queasy stomach. A little anxiety though, nothing some good chocolate can't take care of, right?

What I'm saying is that I'm not sure there is such a thing as emotional eating. I'd say it's more like mindless eating that you do pretty much whenever there's an opportunity. Ever notice how you suddenly feel like eating something when you walk into your kitchen? You don't have to be sad, mad or glad. The eating triggers are all there for you: the fridge, the cabinet with the chips, the bowl on the counter. They call to you, eat something; you know you want to. When you have down-time at the office, aren't you more likely to grab a snack than when you're flat out, trying to make a deadline? There are eating triggers at the office as well: the break room, the drawer where you keep your emergency stash of goodies.

 

Consider the "emotional eating" scenario. Here you feel sad, perhaps a little depressed, you're moping around the house and not feeling like doing much of anything. So you eat. It takes less effort than watching tv or checking your email, and a whole lot less effort than reading, cleaning or going out for a run. It's more mindless than any of those other options. I know, some people clean when they're upset. Do we call them "emotional cleaners?" No, because people who clean when they're upset also tend to clean a lot when they're not upset. They clean mindlessly when nothing needs cleaning, about which everyone who lives with them will complain endlessly. Eating works the same way.

If you have a problem eating too much, you probably eat when you're emotional, but also when you're not particularly emotional. You eat without considering whether you're hungry. You don't notice when you're full, or if you do, you don't stop. I'm not a huge fan of pejorative labels, like "emotional eating." It makes it a thing that you have, like a disease. It is important to recognize, however, that a survey of psychologists  identified emotional factors as interfering with diet attempts.

Article contributed by
Advanced Member

Dr. Judith Tutin

Life Coach

Judith Tutin, PhD, ACC

Location: Rome, GA
Credentials: ACC, PhD
Other Articles/News by Dr. Judith Tutin:

Live Your BEST Life: 7 Steps To A Healthier, Happier Existence

By

These are my top wellness steps borrowed from what the books say and what I’ve learned from my clients. If you want to improve your wellness, you may have to eat differently, change your exercise program, or develop a new sleep plan.  You have to be focused. There may be other behaviors you have to look at, like how much time you work, relax and ... Read more

18 Signs You're Probably Having An Emotional Affair (Yikes)

By , ,

In this day and age, most of us have friends of the opposite sex, whether they are co-workers, casual acquaintances or close confidantes. The question is: how close is too close when you're in a romantic relationship with someone else? Here are some signs that your so-called friendship may be entering the not-so-gray area of emotional infidelity: 1. You ... Read more

7 Surprising Ways You Can Boost Your Happiness

By

My son flew home recently and told me how he arrived at his seat and promptly put on headphones to avoid talking to anyone. I explained that a recent study found that those who talk to the person beside them on a plane or train arrive happier. He wasn't buying it. We all know that doing meaningful work, being with people you love, and avoiding all ... Read more

See More

 
Latest Expert Videos
ASK YOURTANGO MORE QUESTIONS
Most Popular