Do you find yourself gaining weight during times of stress? Do you fear boredom because you know you'll simply eat to fill the time? These are just some of the symptoms of emotional overeating and maybe the exact reason you have chosen to begin reading this guide.
Emotional overeating is almost a joke in our society - movies, TV shows, and the resulting stereotypes cause many of us to laugh about how much ice cream it takes to get over a boyfriend, or how much chocolate we need to overcome rejection. But for those who actually suffer from emotional overeating, it's anything but funny.
If you think you may suffer from this relatively common eating disorder, here are some signs and symptoms to begin with that may help you identify whether or not this is what you're struggling with.
If you have a binge eating disorder or emotional overeating problem, you may stuff food in and not even really taste it or realize what you're doing. It's as though you are "out of it" and just mindlessly stuffing food into your mouth.
Feelings of Guilt and Shame
Many people with emotional overeating disorders feel really embarrassed and hateful of themselves after they've got through with an eating binge. The problem, of course, is that these negative feelings may make you reach for more food for comfort.
Eating in Secret
Because of being embarrassed, many emotional overeaters will eat in private, reserving their "naughty" foods for when no one is looking.
Always on My Mind...
Do you think about food all the time? Do you feel anxious about the prospect of leaving the house without snacks or money to buy food? Constantly thinking about food (food obsession) may be a sign that you have an emotional overeating disorder.
Sometimes, emotional overeaters will eat and eat to comfort themselves, and then feel sick afterward.
Obviously, this is your body's way of telling you you've eaten far too much more than is good for you; but for emotional overeaters, this sickness does not necessarily deter the next binge.
Could Your Weight Gain Be the Result of Emotional Overeating?
Weight gain is frustrating enough, but when you can't seem to identify the cause(s) of it, the frustration is compounded. Emotional overeating is a somewhat sneaky problem - because it can involve mindless eating, it's the sort of thing that can occur without you realizing it. If you are having trouble figuring out what's causing your weight gain, here are some tips on identifying emotional overeating (as opposed to just overeating).
Seemingly Unexplainable Weight Gain
If you are gaining weight and you can't seem to figure out why, this is (ironically) a sign that the problem may lie with emotional overeating. As noted above, you often don't know you're doing it when it comes to emotional overeating. You may even be working out regularly and preparing healthy meals and still gaining weight, because you are mindlessly eating other foods when you feel negative emotions.
A Sudden Urge
Sources say that emotional "hunger" comes on quite suddenly, perhaps in the form of an irresistible craving for a certain food or just the urge to eat right now. True hunger is usually more gradual than that - unless you have low blood sugar or have gone a very long time without eating, true hunger does not usually take the form of an urgent need to eat a whole lot right away.
More and more the connection between emotional overeating and depression is being discovered. Do you feel depressed periodically? When you even think of feeling depressed, what goes through your mind?
How do you cope? If you are picturing a big serving of your favorite comfort food, then this may be a sign that your overeating is emotion-based.
Are you going through a stressful time in your life simultaneous to your weight gain? Have you seen that pattern before? Stress, with its accompanying anxiety and other negative feelings, can trigger someone to overeat in response to those feelings.
How do you feel after you eat? Are you consumed with guilt? Do you feel ashamed? These feelings are signs that you have a problem with emotional overeating. Normal eating to satisfy normal hunger does not make a person feel guilty.
As many parents know, genuine hunger usually means that you're more open to various food options. In emotional overeating, though, cravings may be so specific that no other food will do to satisfy your "hunger." You feel like you have to have that particular food to feel satisfied.
Do any of these signs and symptoms describe you and your situation? If so, don't despair – In this introductory guide to ending emotional eating we will be covering exactly how you can recognize the signs of emotional eating and how you can end it once and for all.
I hope you’re excited, because I am...Let’s get started!