Overeating is somewhat like an iceberg, it’s not what we see on the surface, on the plate but more about what is lying beneath. Some of you may be aware that overeating isn’t usually about hunger at all. Emotional hunger is the #1 reason people overeat.
What is emotional hunger?
Quite simply, it’s how our minds and our bodies have to emotions such as stress, anxiety & depression. This will trigger the body into craving something in pursuit of feeling satisfied or in control. It’s almost the same feeling you get with ‘retail therapy’, this isn’t just a reaction to emotions which are negative, it can occur when you are celebrating, spending time in a social situation or receiving a reward.
How is emotional hunger any different to physical hunger?
Whereas physical hunger builds up over time allowing your body to feel better upon consuming food (given you are eating the right foods), emotional hunger is different.
It comes on very quickly & suddenly involves craving of specific foods. It’s never satisfying eating food, no matter how much, what you eat and it leaves you with a longing feeling of guilt to think about once you are done.
Chances are this sounds very similar and there’s a good reason for that. Most people will have or will experience emotional hunger sometime over their lifetime. It may seem impossible to overcome, especially given we all live in a chaotic, busy world, where we are expected to do 101 things in one day and guaranteed to experience a whole host of different emotions throughout. Emotional hunger is not exempt from such.
To be in with any chance of overcoming the emotional hunger barrier, you need to become aware of it. It’s that simple. Ask yourself the following question next time you feel a food craving:
“Do I need to eat a carrot right now?”
If so, then that’s fine, it’s physical hunger. Enjoy!
If not, however, we are speaking about the emotional element to hunger. Before picking it up, take a few moments to think about what you are doing. Ask yourself
“Do I really need this right now?” Could you be better off with stress relief or some exercise?
When you are hungry, all healthy foods should appeal to you. It’s completely different when the emotional hunger arrives, sweets, gummy bears & chocolate sounds so much more appealing to you. Believe it or not, it doesn’t matter how much of the sugary concoction you take down, you will never feel ‘okay’. It will never offset the issue at hand and the minute you finish the snack, you will want to move onto the next one and continue to do so until you have nothing left to consume, you end up feeling guilty, still having issues and struggling and no doubt a little bit dizzy or lightheaded from all the sugar you have consumed.
The first step toward facing the emotional hunger is observing your overeating and stopping it. You then need to work out what the issues are or what is causing the cravings. Ask yourself will this honestly make me feel better?
Once you have worked out which issues are getting to you, you will find the cravings and the overeating will disappear.
- Say no or delegate your jobs/tasks to other people if you are feeling overwhelmed.
- Are you tired? You don’t need to eat. Try to find a way to improve your sleep quality or work out how to get more.
- Are you stressed? Reduce or eliminate what is causing the stress to you.Are you stressed or worked up due to a specific person causing you pain and suffering? My post about Toxic People and how to deal with them. will help you solve this issue.
Becoming self-aware of your hidden dramas that result to the overeating and emotional hunger is your best chance of understanding what is causing the pain. Understanding this is going to help you avoid it the next time around.
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