How Emotional Eating is an Obstacle to Your Best Body
Feelings are fattening. It’s true. It’s not a good idea to eat them. Not if you want to get fit or stay fit.
When you eat your emotions, rather than process them and let them go, your body can get upset and confused. The “comfort foods” that seem to make you feel better do go down smooth—at first. Unfortunately, the sugar and carbs make the road to lasting health and fitness very bumpy (and your waistline squishy) if emotional eating becomes a habit.
The truth is, while food often offers pleasure in the face of emotional pain, that pleasure is not sustainable. After all plates and bowls are cleared away, you are more likely to feel worse as thoughts of your fitness and nutrition goals come to mind once more. Guilt, discouragement, anxiety, and a knock on your self-esteem often follow. And you’ve faced once again with the choice to eat away your feelings or find ways to recommit to health and fitness. After all, you don’t spend time in the gym just to undo it all for a brief sugar rush!
Keep in mind that emotional eating can ruin the gains of a great workout… and effectively keep your best body from ever materializing. Not good. It’s up to you to make a change.
Let’s look at how the ill-effects of emotional eating may be affecting your physique.
Emotional hunger interferes with true physical hunger
Do you run to the refrigerator whenever you’re stressed, angry, lonely, exhausted or bored? Then emotional eating is likely holding you back from the body you’ve been working toward.
What’s the solution?
Pay attention to your body and tune into what your brain is really signaling. Ask yourself if you’re truly hungry. Think intentionally about what kind of hunger you are experiencing.
Boots WebMD notes that to be clear about the difference between emotional and physical behavior, it’s best to keep the following in mind:
- Emotional hunger often shows up quickly, demanding satisfaction
- Cravings for unhealthy, sugary, fatty foods are common
- You may find you keep eating well after you are full
- You tend to feel ashamed or upset about the food you ate
Emotional eating is fitness sabotage when you’re caught unprepared
Did you find you find yourself grabbing a quick bite at a fast food spot after a traffic accident made for a long commute home? Are you feeling guilty about the candy bar you ate following that intense conversation with your boss? When anxiety or irritations rise unexpectedly, so can the desire for something soothing, sugary, and pure sabotage to your fitness goals.
So, what’s the solution?
Easy, shoot down the food laden with sugar, salt, and high fructose corn syrup with strategic preparation. Keep a mini cooler of fruits and vegetables in the car. Be sure to stay hydrated. Make sure a handful of protein bars are spread among your gym bag, coat pockets, and the glove compartment in your car.
Best of all, resolve to face your emotions. Then you won’t need food at all, healthy or otherwise, to get through them.
Emotional eating is hard to resist and often impulsive behavior
When you’re generally content and happy it can be hard to grasp how frequently emotions influence your eating habits.
What’s the solution?
Why not try maintaining a food diary? Tracking what you eat and noting corresponding life events may provide some insight. As you highlight the connections between food cravings and your thoughts, you may uncover what triggers your emotional eating.
The truth is, your relationship with food today developed throughout your whole life—consciously and unconsciously. To gain control of emotional eating, you’ll need to reflect, and be as honest with yourself as possible.
All in all, a pint of ice cream or pizza with the works may seem tempting when you’re down. However, self-control and putting your emotions in perspective (not in your mouth) is the best course of action. Eat when your body says you’re hungry, talk to a friend or therapist when you’re sad. Soon, you’ll be back at your workouts again… and on the road to your leanest, strongest and healthiest body yet.
Emotional eating can stop you from making the gains you want to make, but it doesn’t have to. For more information about emotional eating and strategies to tackle it please visit my food and fulfillment ultimate guide.