Emotional eating and how to stop the cravings


Have you ever eaten just because the food smells yummy, looks good or just to satisfy your feelings even without truly being hungry? If yes, you might be an emotional eater. You are however not alone on this, as often times we find ourselves indulging in food for the wrong reasons; turning to food as an immediate solution to our problems.

Stress, boredom, anxiety, break-ups, depression, habits (mostly childhood habits), sometimes success are major contributory factors to this. Emotional eating does more harm than good for our health and is a major contributing factor to being overweight.  This is mainly because not only do we eat when not hungry, we tend to overindulge in high calorie foods thereby feeding the body with more calories than it needs, and in the long run, helping our body store up excess fat.  

Emotional cravings are usually very overwhelming and most times if you don’t eat that high calorie food that you are craving for, you’ll feel you cannot survive the next minute.

So how can one then differentiate between emotional eating and real hunger?
High calorie food

  • In emotional eating, you tend to eat uncontrollably while with real hunger most times, you stop eating once full
  • You crave for mostly high calorie foods (sugary, fatty foods); real hunger you can eat even  bland meals
  • The craving is sudden in onset in emotional eating because most times you are acting with your head only ; real hunger sets in gradually and your tummy might actually tend to start rumbling
  • You most times feel a sense of guilt after an emotional eating while you feel a sense of satisfaction and fullness after eating due to hunger

You can try curbing this by:

  • Taking a walk, watching a movie when stressed out (something to take your mind away from the stress
  • Trying out some relaxation techniques
  • Talking to a close friend or family member if you are depressed or bored
  • Stocking up your fridge with mostly healthy foods; thus even after meals and you crave for something, you can easily grab a vegetable
  • Do not grab a food immediately the craving sets in, give it some time, the craving might pass and you’ll be okay
  • Give yourself a treat occasionally, this way the cravings are kind of controlled.

You should remember that emotional eating does not solve our problems, rather it compounds it.

Keep well, stay active and please share!


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