Tools to Overcome Emotional Eating

By Unite Fitness Retreat Dietician, Brooke Bouwhuis

Soothing emotions with food and finding comfort in the food is common.  Men and women both affected by emotional eating.  Stress, hormonal swings and muddled hunger cues are a few things that can trigger emotional hunger.

Emotional hunger has a few components that differentiate it from physical hunger.  Emotional based eating comes on suddenly, you only crave specific foods, the food that was eaten may not leave you with feelings of fullness, finally, guilt or shame prevails surrounding the experience.

Physical hunger develops slowly and can be ranked along a hunger scale.  Here is an example if you have never seen once before.

When we experience physical hunger, we are interested in a variety of food groups, we feel full and stop eating and don’t associate that eating occasion with negative emotions.

Emotional hunger has nothing to do with fueling the body – Finding ways to cope with the stress that drives you to eat is the key to getting to the root of the problem.

When eating emotionally I would bet there are a few very harsh and very negative statements that course through your noggin. Those statements bashing around in your head and beating you down are statements that need to be dealt with in order to gain control over your life.  Seeking out therapy may be critical for your success.

Here are three other additional tools you may want to consider adding to your tool box of life if you struggle with emotional eating.

  1. Savor: Mindful Eating, Mindful Life by Lilian Wai-Yin Cheung and Thich Nhat Hanh arguably one of the chilliest, most incredible people to teach how to increase peace in your life.  Peace with eating, peace with moving and peace with life. You won’t regret reading this book!
  2. Calm is an app you can download that may also be very effective in helping you through those tough moments.  Calm is a guided meditation tool with instruction and guidance in breaking bad habits, mindfulness, stress reduction and even an emergency calm for when the panic button has been pushed.
  3. Eat Right Now is also an app which was created by Dr Judson Brewer – one of the forefront researches in changing habits. The app is used to help control food cravings and improve your relationship with food, it is REALLY amazing!

Check the book out at the library, both apps offer free initial trials, so you don’t have to commit right out of the gate.  Download them, use them and see if they can help you put the pieces back together to regain control over your habits and bring a greater sense of peace to your life.