There are times when we completely ‘’abandon’’ our daily meals. But there are also times when we can’t escape binge-eating at every possible hour. While waiting for our next meeting? Eat. Watching movies? Eat. While texting our bestie about the latest gossip? Eat. Scrolling through Instagram? Eat. Yeah, we’ve all been there. But does this particular situation make us fall under the category of “emotional eaters”?
We usually consume food whenever we feel hungry. But when you find that you need to constantly feed your tummy or munch on something every part of the day, you are indeed an emotional eater. Emotional eating can then lead to poor nutrition, an unhealthy relationship with food, and feelings of frustration and guilt.
So what exactly is emotional eating? It happens when you’re using food to cover up intense emotions. Sometimes, these emotions are negative and sometimes they are positive. For example, you’re eating as a way to cope with stress, sadness, and to feel comfort.
When food is used to help cope with negative emotions, it can be considered a form of disordered eating – or an “eating disorder.” This can be considered an unhealthy strategy and something that should be addressed.
Most important to note is that this type of emotional eating only provides a temporary relief from difficult or uncomfortable feelings. After this eating, one is often met with guilt, shame, and even more physical and emotional discomfort. So how do we overcome this emotional eating behavior?
The obvious suggestion would be to pull non-food activities. When you start to feel bored and your emotions kick in to munch that pack of Oreos, quickly find a way to escape. Call a friend, listen to music, go walk outside or just watch some funny TikToks.
As time passes, keep finding a way to engage in any non-food activity to fill the time. When the time is up, ask yourself if you were able to do something else that did not involve eating. If you are able to choose something else to do, then great! It takes practice and time to change this behaviour. But be patient and keep working on it. It will all be worth it in the end.