Friday, February 12, 2016

Do You Ever Eat When You're Not Hungry?

My topic for this week is one I'm very familiar with personally. It's frustrating, it's embarrassing, it's exhausting, it feels good in the moment and yet after, all you feel is gross or guilty.  Do you ever find yourself eating when you're not hungry?  

Emotional Eating

Food is fuel right?  We've all heard this at one time or another, but it's really so much more.  Food reminds us of our granny who made the best sugar cookies.  It's comfort when you're feeling down or sad or lonely. It's a reward, when you behave well or achieve something (I hear that kids today get to go out for ice cream or pizza after every game! yikes!).  It's a stress reliever when we've had a bad day.  These habits or feelings are ingrained in us from the time we're little.
How often do you turn to food or beverages when you're not hungry or thirsty?  Unfortunately, I have had a lot of experience with this in the past, and it got to the point where it was really a bad habit.  The good news is, there is hope for un-learning this behavior and moving past it!

Some common times for emotional eating is when we're:
  • Stressed: Just got out of a tough meeting and I really need some chocolate! Or a glass of wine!
  • Bored: Hmm, nothing fun going on, so what's going on in the refrigerator?
  • Tired: if I hit the candy jar or drink that Venti Pumpkin Spice Latte I'll perk up and be able to get my work done!
  • Procrastin-Eating (my favorite): you feel like you "should" be doing something but you really don't want to (you know that project at work that just drags on, right?).  Hey, maybe I need a snack!
  • Lonely:  You're by yourself and to fill the void you make a box of mac and cheese and eat it all
  • Sad or Disappointed:  After a bad breakup, you find yourself eating a pint of Ben and Jerry's
Do any of these things sound familiar? 

There might even be times that you eat when others aren't around so they won't judge you, or even binge on food to the point of feeling sick (and yes, I've been there, too, so no judging from me!).    

Typically after we give into the Emotional Eating Monster the guilt sets in. Why did I do that? I didn't need that cupcake(s), bag of chips, pizza, pint of ice cream, etc...  Now I feel gross and actually feel more tired, sad, lonely, etc  It's a vicious cycle!

As I said earlier, there is hope for getting past this cycle!  How?  The short answer is that you have to figure out what need you're trying to fill with food. Why do we eat when we're not necessarily hungry?  This usually happens because we're not listening to what we really need or dealing with the actual feelings we have. That action of eating helps us to push those things away, and are a distraction.   

Next time you realize that you're eating when you're not really hungry, ask yourself, what do I really need in this moment? First of all, don't give into the guilt (life is too short!) and just being aware that you're doing it is the first step.  Instead be mindful, listen to your needs, actually let yourself feel your feelings, and really take care of YOU! 

Are you frustrated and tired of feeling guilty for giving into the Emotional Eating Monster? Send me a note and we can work together to beat your emotional eating habits. 

Take care! :)

When was the last time you talked with someone about your health and received the personal attention you deserve?

I offer a risk free, no cost, 50 minute consultation where we can chat about what's going on with you and how we might work together to help you achieve your goals.  What do you have to lose?  Shoot me a note at and we'll set up some time to talk.  I can't wait to hear from you!  

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