Emotional eating can be described as episodes of binge-eating, grazing and/or eating when not hungry to soothe feelings. Emotional eaters have a pattern of eating to cope with stress, emotional conflicts and problems of daily life.
Emotional eating is eating for reasons other than hunger. Instead of physical symptoms initiating the eating, an emotion will trigger eating.
There are several differences between physical and emotional hunger. Emotional hunger comes on suddenly; physical hunger occurs gradually. Emotional hunger usually feels like it needs to be satisfied instantly, while physical hunger can wait.
How to recognize emotional eating?
Preoccupation with food
Concerned about body image
Difficulty identifying feelings and needs
Experiencing difficulty in social situations
Disconnection from signals of hunger/satiety
Constant dieting or yo-yo dieting
Emotional eating is not about food. What to eat or not to eat. Most of us know how to eat healthy meals. It’s about feelings. It’s about coping with life’s challenges by not using food for comfort. Instead of attempting to try another diet program, change your focus. Look within. You can overcome your addiction and preoccupation with food. Learning to process your feelings is the first step in recovery. You can start by journaling. Keeping a diary will help you explore the motivation underlying the emotional eating behavior.