Emotional Eating. This term has become a bit of a buzz word in recent years, typically having negative connotations and leading to the assumption that we should completely learn to separate emotions from our entire eating process. This couldn’t be further from the truth, however. In fact, our feeding relationship is best healed and balanced when we allow ourselves to (1) feel our emotions without judgment, and (2) eat with joy and awareness.
When food is used to bypass or stuff emotions, then our lives become out of balance. The process of healing and resuming balance begins with acknowledgment of emotions – even if you can’t name them completely. Just as you become willing to see your emotions, you must then be willing to see your eating patterns – again without judgment. Become curious, almost detective-like in your observations.
If you find the following, you may be experiencing unbalanced emotional eating.
- Hunger or desire to eat comes on suddenly and urgently
- A little food doesn’t make you feel better – you want more
- Hunger is often paired with an uncomfortable emotion, sometimes brought on by a situation or event
- You don’t recognize that you started eating
- You don’t stop eating even when full
- Hunger isn’t located in belly
- After you satisfy hunger, you feel a sense of guilt and regret
As you become more aware of how emotions and eating meet in your life, you can begin to make steps to handle both in a way that creates peace.
Christie Caggiani, RD, LD/N CEDRD is a co-founder and Nutrition Therapist at Therapeutic Oasis of the Palm Beaches in Delray Beach, Florida.