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How to Break Free of Emotional Eating

Eating Disorders

Eating Disorders

Eating disorders, from binge eating to calorie counting, or feeling guilty of eating 'bad' foods can wreak havoc on our health and happiness.

The core issue lies within our emotions, and how our mind works against the goal of weight lossDiet restrictions only work with willpower which can fade, as it usually does.

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IDEA EXTRACTED FROM:

How to Break Free of Emotional Eating

How to Break Free of Emotional Eating

https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/how_to_break_free_of_emotional_eating

greatergood.berkeley.edu

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Key Ideas

Eating Disorders

Eating disorders, from binge eating to calorie counting, or feeling guilty of eating 'bad' foods can wreak havoc on our health and happiness.

The core issue lies within our emotions, and how our mind works against the goal of weight lossDiet restrictions only work with willpower which can fade, as it usually does.

Eating to Relieve Emotional Discomfort

Eating can be an emotional activity, with deep connections on how our brains and bodies work. Emotional overeaters are:

  • Having a feeling of resentment after neglecting one's own needs to appease others.
  • Feeling undeserving of their success, with a fear of being shamed.
  • Being a perfectionist and being constantly anxious about the possible mistakes.
  • Suppressing of all negative emotions.

Overeaters tend to have an 'all-or-nothing' approach oscillating between an all-good diet or an outright unhealthy one, depending on the particular underlying emotion.

Being in Control

To be in control does not mean restraining. A person who is in control should have the capacity and freedom to self-govern.

Rather than fighting with your body, provide it with an autonomous control by allowing all kinds of foods back in your life, yet eating consciously, paying attention to your meals, savoring them fully. Being mindful can maximize your pleasure and minimize your eating.

A Holistic Approach

Accepting that it is ok to make mistakes makes us patient and kind towards ourselves, and keeps us on track with our diet goals, as we understand that our urges to overeat are part of the process.

Instead of obsessing over the 'diet' mentality,  it is better to focus on your behavioral changes and new habits, incorporating certain activities in your routine. The focus should be on a healthy and holistic lifestyle.

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Why food

Negative emotions may lead to a feeling of emptiness or an emotional void. 

Food is believed to be a way to fill that void and create a false feeling of “

Emotional vs. true hunger

Physical hunger

  • It develops slowly over time.
  • You desire a variety of food groups.
  • You feel the sensation of fullness and take it as a cue to stop eating.
  • You have no negative feelings about eating.

Emotional hunger

  • It comes about suddenly or abruptly.
  • You crave only certain foods.
  • You may binge on food and not feel a sensation of fullness.
  • You feel guilt or shame about eating.

Emotional hunger isn’t easily quelled

While filling up could work in the moment, eating because of negative emotions often leaves people feeling more upset than before.

This cycle typically doesn’t end until a person addresses emotional needs head-on.

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What causes binge eating

  • You do a lot of cardio.
  • You have been on a caloric deficit for months.
  • Your diet is extremely restrictive.
  • You target a low amount of calories on a daily basi...

Go easy on the cardio

Cardio doesn't always necessarily lead to excess hunger or binging.

Some people are more sensitive to large quantities of cardio and are more binge-prone than others. Reducing the amount of cardio lessens the urge to binge or makes it disappear altogether.

Increase your total calories

Binge eaters tend to aggressively cut calories while leaning on willpower to deal with hunger and lack of energy. 

But willpower is limited, so this strategy will backfire.

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Start a list of the emotions

Pay attention to your emotions as you start to think about eating (you might feel hungry, or have a craving to eat something). Notice your emotions as you eat, and after as well. 

Pick one emotion to start with

Start with the emotional trigger that occurs most frequently. So if you only have social eating triggers once or twice a week, but you have stress or comfort triggers multiple times a day, choose the latter.

Find a healthy alternative

If the need is a way to cope with stress, you need to find some healthy way of doing that other than eating. If you don’t, then the need will become so strong that you’ll cave and eat.

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