We don’t always eat to satisfy our hunger and fuel our body for energy. Many, turn to food to relieve stress or cope with unpleasant emotions and after eating, we feel even worse. Not only is the original emotional problem still there but you then become guilty for overeating compounding the problem.
No matter how powerless you feel over food and your feelings, it is possible to make a positive change.
So let’s clear up the difference between emotional hunger and physical hunger
Emotional hunger comes on suddenly, it hits you instantly, it’s overwhelming and it’s urgent. You want the food right now! Physcial hunger comes on gradually.
Emotional hunger craves specific comfort foods. Emotional hunger you want something in particular and nothing else will do whereas physical hunger almost anything sounds good and you will be happy to eat.
Emotional hunger leads to mindless eating, you know the type of eating where before you know it, you’ve eaten a whole bag of chips or the entire chocolate bar without paying attention or fully enjoying it. When it’s physical hunger you are more aware of what you are doing.
Emotional hunger isn’t satisfied when you are full. You want more and more, often eating until you are uncomfortable and possibly sick. Physical hunger you don’t need to be stuff, you are satisfied when you are full.
Emotional hunger often leads to feelings of guilt, regret or shame. If you feel guilty after you have eaten it’s because deep down you know you aren’t eating for nutritional reasons.
Here is 4 tips to overcome stress eating
- Identify what is causing you stress – Write down everything that is causing you stress and then put a plan into place on either how to reduce stress or how to cope with it better.
- Move daily – Exercise is a great outlet for stress. Prioritise and schedule exercise into your daily routine, keep it achievable and fun so it doesn’t come second place to other commitments.
- Address any nutritional inadequacies – If you have been eating a restricted diet for ages and eat a lot of processed foods. You might be deficient in nutrients and minerals. Head to your GP for a blood test if this is the case to check out your levels and aim to eat a variet of foods on a daily basis.
- Eat regularly – Skipping meals? Running on empty? This takes a toll not only on your body physically but also your mental health and your ability to cope with stress. Aim to eat every 3 hours. Make sure you aren’t starving either when it comes to meal time as this can cause you to overeat especially when you are stressed.