Emotional eating is the number one reason why we overeat. In this episode of the Irresistible You podcast, I’m going to define what emotional eating looks like, why yo-yo dieting is actually instigating your emotional eating and stopping you from getting to your goal weight, and some strategies you can use to address your emotional eating.
What is Emotional Eating?
Emotional eating is eating when you’re not physically hungry and you’re eating to seek out comfort or to soothe some kind of emotions that you don’t want to feel. It also happens out of habit, boredom, loneliness, and being in zombie walking mode.
Do you even know the difference between emotional eating and physical hunger? Most women who are stuck in the yo-yo diet/body hate shame cycle don’t even remember what physical hunger feels like anymore.
It’s super important to learn how to differentiate emotional hunger from true physical hunger. The only way you’ll get there is to step out of the zombie walking mode into radical self-awareness. So long as you’re checked out of experiencing your body, you’ll continue to stay stuck in this cycle.
Here’s the bottom line – until you learn how to process your emotions, emotional eating will always be a thing. It comes down to losing the emotional weight and having a strategy for processing your emotions in the moment. Losing the emotional weight doesn’t mean you’ll never feel another bad thing again. The emotional weight is about the build up of stories, beliefs, and feelings you’ve created about yourself.
The Reasons You Emotionally Eat
Let’s keep it real. Food tastes good. Some food tastes amazing. There is scientific evidence to backup the fact that some foods give our brain a massive dopamine hit…just like drugs! You’ve conditioned yourself over the years that getting this dopamine hit is going to make you feel better. Somewhere along the line, you connected food to feeling good. The more you emotionally eat, the more your brain makes that connection to the food. Even though the food doesn’t remove the underlying feelings!
Emotional eating is not always about soothing negative situations either. Emotional eating comes in many different forms.
- You are a foodie and just love food! Yes, this is still emotional eating because you’re emotionally attached to eating!
- You want a break. I need study food. I need a snack to get through this project.
- Socializing with your food friends.
- Relaxation – Eating and watching TV after the baby goes to sleep
- Eating in the the car to get away from the stress.
The Lie Emotional Eating is Selling You
The lie that emotional eating is selling you is that it doesn’t actually make your feel better, less depressed/anxious, or happy afterwards. It has the exact opposite effect and just layers the guilt and shame on top of whatever it is you’re already feeling.
Emotional hunger can never be satisfied with food…but yet, you keep doing it anyways. Even when you feel full, you keep eating even though it hurts and you’re not hungry.
The lie you have bought into for so many years is that you’re broken and the only way to “fix” you, is by going on another restrictive yo-yo diet. Instead of investing your time and energy into learning your emotional eating triggers, you look for a solution in something that’s never worked in the past but you convince yourself it’s because it wasn’t the right one or you weren’t ready. Emotional eating just keeps you stuck on the yo-yo diet/body hate shame cycle.
Strategies to Overcome Emotional Eating
The big secret about overcoming emotional eating? You actually have to learn how to identify it and process your emotions. That means you have to deal with feeling the things you don’t want to feel. There’s no other way around it but right through the messiness of it all.
So, how do you do that?
Ultimately, you have to move from the place of zombie walking, which is like being asleep at the wheel of your life to a place of radical self-awareness. Self-awareness is when you’re in touch with how you’re feeling without lying to yourself or making up BS stories.
- Meet yourself where you’re at right now. Stop the resistance and judgmental thoughts in your head about where you want to be. Sit in the feelings!
- Let go of the diet mentality. Stop worrying about losing a certain number of pounds by a specific date.
- Right now, you need to get curious AF so that you can start listening to your body and your thoughts.
- Start listening to your thoughts. We have a gazillion thoughts a day that play in our mind. Our thoughts determine how we feel and how we feel determines the actions that we take. All of our actions together create the life that we have.
- Start journaling. Write down your food, your thoughts how you’re feeling, and the actions that you took. This is about looking at your patterns, triggers, and how you’re reacting.
Accept that this is a process and it’s going to take time. This is why you avoid doing the work because of the time it will take. Well, the time is going to pass anyways and the way you’re spending it now with the insane diets and inner fat bitch chatter aren’t doing a damn thing for you.
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