If you emotionally eat, you are not alone. It can feel shameful, like you’re the only one who secretly turns to food to deal with stress, or loses control of her appetite when celebrating with friends. But trust me, I’ve been there, too, and there are millions of women and men in the boat with us!
There are many reasons we may emotionally eat, and after working with hundreds of clients, I’ve narrowed it down to the top six reasons:
- Stress. And goodness knows, we have plenty of that these days! Many of us feel constantly tired, overworked, and stressed out (see this post for how stress is impacting your health). When we feel this way, there are biological reasons we turn to comfort food. To start, eating high-fat foods actually does reduce your perceived and biological stress response, making you feel momentarily better (the key is “momentarily”!). Having high cortisol (as a result of stress) or being overly tired increases the sensitivity of your reward centers, making you crave even more food.
- Lack of joy. If we truly step back and think about it, many of us love our lives, and are grateful for what we have – houses, family, friends, health. But the absence of specific moments of joy in each day leaves us craving bursts of pleasure. Unfortunately, eating high-sugar or high-carbohydrate foods gives you a momentary release of the feel-good hormone serotonin, which gets your brain in the habit of turning to that every time it needs a hit of joy.
- Conditioning. We’ve been taught since we were babies to turn to food when we need comfort. Think about it … when a baby cries, often times, he or she gets fed. When a child gets a shot at the doctor’s office, he or she gets comforted with a lollipop. And of course, most of our celebrations and holidays are centered around food. So we learn, from an early age, that both negative and positive emotions are associated with “treat” food, and we subconsciously carry that thought pattern into our adult lives.
- Habit. Often times, we emotionally or mindlessly eat simply out of habit. Walk in the door, go to the pantry, open the bag of chips, sit on the couch. Repeat pattern, day in and day out. It’s just what you do, whether you’re aware of it or not.
- Loneliness. When we feel isolated, lonely, depressed, or any other uncomfortable emotion, we often self-soothe with food. We don’t really think that food is our friend, but in some way, in the moment, it feels like it is. What a fickle friend, though – this friend doesn’t leave you feeling great, and certainly doesn’t help you reach your long-term goals.
- Unawareness of true hunger. As strange as it sounds, most Americans don’t actually know what it feels like to be hungry! Real hunger feels like a grumbling in your stomach, or even a faint lightheadedness. So often, we think we’re hungry when we’re thirsty, bored, tired, or just realize it’s the time when we’re “supposed” to eat.
I could go on and on, but most of us relate to at least one of those. So now that we know WHY we emotionally eat, how do we stop it? There are tons of emotional eating tips, and you can start with this post. But truly, the answer is individual, and it takes a little time and experimentation to figure out the answer for YOU.
If you’re ready to learn tons of emotional eating tips and find the solution that works for YOU, I have the perfect program for you, and it’s right around the corner!
If you’re ready to tackle your emotional eating once and for all, I invite you to join Fueling or Feeling, The Lyons’ Share’s 10-Day Emotional Eating Challenge, which starts Tuesday 2/16! For just $29, I’ll guide you through daily challenges, activities, and self-exploration designed to help you uncover the root of your emotional eating. And of course, I’ll share my best strategies, tips & tricks to help you feel empowered and in control of your food decisions! Sign-ups end soon, so join us today!
- Program handbook packed with tips, tricks, and instructions.
- Daily challenges, along with interactive worksheets designed to help you discover what you’re truly hungry for and change your behaviors gently.
- Three live coaching calls with Megan, designed to share even more information and get your questions answered
- Private chat forum so you can feel supported and connected to others going through the program, get questions answered, and stay motivated and encouraged
- Over $1000 worth of prizes, including a daily giveaway!
Let’s take the first step to changing your relationship with food!
Ready to go? Sign up here! I can’t wait to see you inside the program!
Now it’s your turn … Are you ready for the “Fueling or Feeling” 10-Day Emotional Eating Challenge? Would love to have you on board!