Even though eating healthy may be important to us. we are still prone to become emotional eaters at some point, whether we realize it or not.
The first thing people reach for when experiencing strong emotions is either food or a drink. This can be the reaction to feeling frustrated, feeling depressed, feeling happy or even wanting to celebrate.
These are just strong emotional states. Not many people can say they have not had this experience.
Unfortunately, the majority of people do not realize the emotional factors which contribute to their eating habits.
You're not alone.
It's quite common for people not be aware of the effects of emotional eating. Most of your decision contain an emotional side that you're not aware of, and it has an impact on you before you attempt to make a rational decision.
We've all heard of how advertising is designed to take full advantage of our emotions impact on our buying decisions.
Even our own family environments have for years contributed to the idea that food is not only good for us, but it will also make us feel good.
We need food for energy, and general nutrition to keep our bodies functioning properly. It's easy then to see how when a person has a void in their lives they will reach for food to make them feel better. (1)
Eating in response to emotional factors can be the start of an eating disorder that can lead to being severely overweight.
Even though most people never progress to an actual eating disorder, the line between normal eating accompanied by emotions, and an actual eating illness is a fine line.
Can you determine yourself whether you are a compulsive eater or whether you are just an emotional eater?
Best Way To Lose Weight
The best way to lose weight for people who engage in emotional eating is to first become aware of their eating problem, and to find a way to overcome this condition.
Individuals who suffer from an eating disorder exhibit certain behavior characteristics. The typical behavior is to eat a lot of food quite rapidly. When questioned, they will admit that they are unable to control the urge to eat. They admit to the feeling of being obsessed about food.
People with eating disorders will hide food around their house, or will eat while hiding from other members of the family. In many cases the main grocery shopper may hide some food items from the rest of the family. They may eat these foods before they get home, or they may wait to eat after they are alone at night.
Causes Of Eating Disorders
Eating disorders are often exhibited by people who have suffered some trauma in their early lives, like sexual abuse, or physical abuse. It's more common that people with an eating disorder have been subjected to earlier trauma in their lives than those people who simply engage in emotional eating.
People who indulge in compulsive eating or binge eating are usually lacking in public as well as medical knowledge. Bulimia and anorexia are much more publicized than binge eating and compulsive eating.
It's most likely that people afflicted by these eating disorders may not actually be aware that they are suffering from a medical disorder.
Natural Weight Loss
Individuals suffering from these types of eating disorder should follow a natural weight loss program, avoiding any extreme diets, and they should not attempt to diet on their own. They should seek medical advice, and guidance and supervision from a trained professional.
In order to succeed in any weight loss programs, people suffering from compulsive eating disorder need the understanding and support of family and close friends. While people with significant emotional eating problems may not require psychological or medical help, their condition is just as burdensome for them.
Individuals who want to get over their emotional eating habits have to begin with awareness of their problem so they can attempt to manage their condition on their own.
To overcome this condition on their own will require admitting to themselves that they suffer from an uncontrollable condition. This will most likely be psychologically painful; they will have to admit to a weakness that has lead them to obesity, and that they didn't just inherit the tendency to over eat.
Keeping An Eating Diary
A valuable tool is keeping a diary of everything they eat, so they can evaluate for themselves how they are causing their weight problem.
This is actually a good practice for anyone trying a weight loss plan. You have to be strict about the accuracy of your eating journal. Otherwise you will be lying to yourself, and fail in your weight loss plan.
You want to write down what you eat, an approximate portion estimate, and what time of day they eat. It's also very valuable to record how you are feeling each time you reach for more food.
You will want to determine what feelings you felt before eating and identify what these emotions were.
This discipline will soon result in self discovery, and it will be easier to do after a short while.
After a week or two, you should review your eating diary and identify the times you ate because you were really hungry, and those times you just thought you were hungry.
Next you should identify occasions when you just reached for food because other emotions drove you to seek food.
In order to succeed in losing weight, you have to be totally honest with yourself so you can take control of your food intake and lose weight as you planned.
Manage Your Eating
Next, you will need to learn to manage your eating, both time and quantity. Fortunately, this process gets easier and eventually automatic as you stick to it. And don't expect to conquer this problem overnight. It took a quite sometime to develop the bad eating habits, and you will need to allow yourself enough time to overcome it.
In time, this will get easier, until it becomes your new lifestyle; you will be eating healthy under your complete control. Any support group you can get, whether family or friends, will just bring you faster success than if you go it alone.
For The Long Haul
It's a good idea to continue with your eating diary, recording everything you eat and the emotions you experienced before you ate.
The practice of keeping a food diary just makes you aware of why you are reaching for food at any particular time, especially if you do it in response to emotions rather than hunger.
Emotional eating will eventually disappear, but you have to remain vigilant so you don't unknowingly fall back to eating without hunger.
You must remain in control, and awareness gives you control.
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