How to overcome emotional eating, understanding emotional hungers
Are you stuck wondering how to overcome emotional eating for good and stick to your healthy eating plans? If yes, this article is for you. I will share the top 5 hungers that come up and also talk about overcoming emotional eating more generally.
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How to overcome emotional eating by understanding other hungers
1 TV Hunger
You know the kind. You’ve settled in to watch your favorite shows for the night and there is just something missing… Snacks! Somehow it feels like the snacks taste better when you’re watching or rather the show seems better because you’ve got something tasty to nibble but the issue that arises from this kind of hunger is that we generally consume more when we are distracted from the eating action. So when you sit down to watch your show and next thing you know the packet is empty, then you know why. In fact studies showed that people eat on average 30% more when watching TV than sat eating without the TV on.
These days it is also eating with the phone reading, youtubing, scrolling social meda distracts people. Which is why in my 3 part program to help people change their eating habits for life; I focus on the emotional, mental and physical aspects of eating. In the physical I guide my clients through a mindful eating exercise and plan, so they appreciate the food, enjoy it and don’t over eat. As when we are on our phones or watching TV whilst eating we will generally eat faster than we would normally. Remember going to watch a movie at the cinema and almost finishing a large chunk of your popcorn while the trailers were still playing?
Mindfulness really is a powerful tool here and if you would like to know more about my 3 step eating coaching program, CLICK HERE
2 Boredom hunger
You’ve got nothing to do and find yourself staring at the fridge thinking what taste can satisfy your hunger. Except you are likely not even hungry but your mind is looking for something to occupy itself with. Because we are so used to having to fill our time doing something, we can easily substitute eating for something else, probably more constructive. And in most of the time, you are not prepared to make a big effort to prepare something good, you are more interested in easy and quick to satisfy this feeling of having to do something.
In this case, it is essential that we learn how to occupy ourselves with things other than food. Refocusing the mind here is key. This is the mental part of the eating coaching program I run. We need to focus on filling up our times with activities that are going to lift us up and not dull us down. I have many ideas for this, you need to pick the right one for you, sometimes it’s picking up a book, organizing something in the home, calling friends or going for a walk, and if you really can’t find anything, avoid filling your house with unhealthy snacks. I know that can be difficult if you have children, you want them to be children so only buy enough for them in small quantities.
3 Hangry Hunger
Maybe you’ve heard of this kind of hunger. The word ‘hangry’ is a combination of the two words angry and hungry and basically means that if you are feeling hungry and your blood sugar dips, your body may react in a more drastic way, including becoming angry (or rather hangry).
The problem with this hunger is that it can have an effect on our interpersonal relationships too because we tend to get snappy or just downright mean and this can lead to fights, arguments and unnecessary tension in places of work. Ever been on a diet and become incredibly moody, snappy and irritable because your starving yourself?
I used to be so cranky when I dieted as I did it in all the wrong ways. Don’t allow yourself to get to this point and instead keep healthy snacks with you instead of feeling hangry and reaching for a sugary, pick-me-up snacks.
It also works the other way round too, some people when they get angry over eat to push down the anger. They grab potato chips, crispy chicken anything crunchy and munch through the anger in my experience helping people stop emotional eating.
4 Association hunger
Have you noticed that when it reaches 3 pm every day, your body automatically feels like it needs nourishment? Almost like clockwork that reminds you to snack on something at a certain time of the day? Maybe you’re at work and you need to have that cup of tea or coffee with a biscuit every day at more or less the same time. Often our bodies won’t necessarily be hungry it’s just a question of habit and our minds tricking our stomach into thinking it needs this snack to go on. If you are hungry often you can retrain this.
Not everyone does well on the 3 meals and 2 snacks a day, others I support find 3 meals a day supports them better and stops training the mind and body into thinking it needs to eat all the time. This is the physical part of my 3 part program we need to look at the physical way you are eating and the patterns.
If we don’t believe we can eat healthy, lose weight easily, eat at set meal times and not be hungry our beliefs are going to get into out way of success.
5 Stress Hunger
You’ve just got some news that made your heart rate speed up and you are feeling stressed out. What do you do? Grab a chocolate bar or loaded sandwich to ‘calm down’. The problem is that our brains tend to override our stomachs a lot which makes it seem like food is the answer to most of our experiences when really it isn’t. Working through the stress is far more effective. Ask yourself do you really need to eat and if you do feed yourself something that will help with the stress and nourish you. Don’t let the stress you feel distract you from the best choice for your body.
Emotional hunger is real I’ve mentioned boredom, anger and stress but there are so many more reasons we eat emotionally. Many I help to stop binge eating, over eat because they feel lonely, fed up or anxious. Others find they are too busy and overwhelmed emotionally to think about or plan healthy meals. Others starve to punish themselves because they are angry at themselves or feel guilty about something.
Then there is the reward illusion. So many of us have ingrained into our minds from the advertisements and childhood way of fixing sadness with sugar, that rewarding ourselves with food is a great idea. Yet I say reward illusion because is it really a reward to overload your body with food? Especially high fat, high sugar or high salt foods?
Nostalgia comes into this also. Maybe there is a dish that reminds you of your childhood or your mom does a great version of something and you just want to eat that because it’s comforting.
The key to overcoming emotional eating is dealing with our emotions in a healthy way and not with food. It’s about putting the food down and feeling the feelings and processing them.
If the craving is so strong and it gets to the point where you cannot resist then stay away from anything that can potentially trigger you into a binge or loaded emotional eating session.
Whether you intend to break your eating patterns on your own or with a coach who has been through it before, I strongly suggest you focus on the physical aspects of your eating, as in how you eat, what you eat and food that triggers you. The mental, the blocks and beliefs you have about yourself, your food, your size and emotional reasons for eating now and in the past. Focusing on all 3 areas I freed myself and have helped countless others to do so. If you are interested to learn more visit my website for your free gift or apply for coaching.
From my heart to yours, Nicola
or if you know you want more 1 to 1 support then visit this page to find out more and book a free strategy session with me https://www.nicolabeer.com/purepeaceformula/