Could emotional overeating be a problem for you? Weight gain is frustrating enough, but when you can’t seem to identify the cause(s) of it, the frustration is compounded. Emotional overeating is somewhat sneaky because it can involve mindless eating and it’s the sort of thing that can occur without you even realizing it. If you are having trouble figuring out what’s causing your weight gain, here are some tips on identifying emotional overeating (as opposed to just overeating).
Seemingly Unexplainable Weight Gain
If you are gaining weight and you can’t seem to figure out why, this is (ironically) a sign that the problem may lie with emotional overeating. As noted above, you often don’t know you’re doing it when it comes to emotional overeating. You may even be working out regularly and preparing healthy meals and still gaining weight, because you are mindlessly eating other foods when you feel negative emotions.
A Sudden Urge
Sources say that emotional “hunger” comes on quite suddenly, perhaps in the form of an irresistible craving for a certain food or just the urge to eat right now. True hunger is usually more gradual than that – unless you have low blood sugar or have gone a very long time without eating, true hunger does not usually take the form of an urgent need to eat a whole lot right away.
More and more the connection between emotional overeating and depression is being discovered. Do you feel depressed periodically? When you even think of feeling depressed, what goes through your mind? How do you cope? If you are picturing a big serving of your favorite comfort food, then this may be a sign that your overeating is emotion-based.
Are you going through a stressful time in your life simultaneous to your weight gain? Have you seen that pattern before? Stress, with its accompanying anxiety and other negative feelings, can trigger someone to overeat in response to those feelings.
How do you feel after you eat? Are you consumed with guilt? Do you feel ashamed? These feelings are signs that you have a problem with emotional overeating. Normal eating to satisfy normal hunger does not make a person feel guilty.
As many parents know, genuine hunger usually means that you’re more open to various food options. In emotional overeating, though, cravings may be so specific that no other food will do to satisfy your “hunger.” You feel like you have to have that particular food to feel satisfied.
Working out can be a great way to relieve stress. Another thing you can do is keep a journal that identifies your emotions and when you feel hungry. If you notice that you are experiencing a lot of stress then the root of the issue is to deal with the stress and end your emotional eating. Find another outlet to relieve your stress and make sure that when you feel a “binge” coming on that you identify the feelings that you are experiencing and why you think you are feeling that way. Food is not the answer, and in fact it is going to make you feel worse. You are going to binge, feel bad, feel guilty and eat more food that you should not be eating. This is a vicious cycle and it has to end or you will never be able to lose the weight that you have gained. You can overcome this, the starting point is to keep a journal of your feelings as well as everything that you put into your mouth.