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admin | monk seal habits | 14.09.2015
If you’ve ever make room for dessert even though you’re already full or dove into a pint of ice cream when you’re feeling down, you’ve experienced emotional eating. Using food from time to time as a pick me up, a reward, or to celebrate isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
Do you eat to feel better (to calm and soothe yourself when you’re sad, mad, bored, anxious, etc.)? Before you can break free from the cycle of emotional eating, you first need to learn how to distinguish between emotional and physical hunger. Emotional hunger craves specific comfort foods. When you’re physically hungry, almost anything sounds good—including healthy stuff like vegetables. Emotional hunger often leads to mindless eating. Before you know it, you’ve eaten a whole bag of chips or an entire pint of ice cream without really paying attention or fully enjoying it. Emotional hunger isn’t satisfied once you’re full. You keep wanting more and more, often eating until you’re uncomfortably stuffed. Emotional hunger isn’t located in the stomach. Rather than a growling belly or a pang in your stomach, you feel your hunger as a craving you can’t get out of your head. Emotional hunger often leads to regret, guilt, or shame. When you eat to satisfy physical hunger, you’re unlikely to feel guilty or ashamed because you’re simply giving your body what it needs. Keep in mind that while most emotional eating is linked to unpleasant feelings, it can also be triggered by positive emotions, such as rewarding yourself for achieving a goal or celebrating a holiday or happy event. Stuffing emotions – Eating can be a way to temporarily silence or “stuff down” uncomfortable emotions, including anger, fear, sadness, anxiety, loneliness, resentment, and shame.
Boredom or feelings of emptiness – Do you ever eat simply to give yourself something to do, to relieve boredom, or as a way to fill a void in your life? Social influences – Getting together with other people for a meal is a great way to relieve stress, but it can also lead to overeating.
Every time you overeat or feel compelled to reach for your version of comfort food Kryptonite, take a moment to figure out what triggered the urge. If you don’t know how to manage your emotions in a way that doesn’t involve food, you won’t be able to control your eating habits for very long. In order to stop emotional eating, you have to find other ways to fulfill yourself emotionally. All you have to do is put off eating for five minutes, or if five minutes seems unmanageable, start with one minute.
When you’re physically strong, relaxed, and well rested, you’re better able to handle the curveballs that life inevitably throws your way.
Make daily exercise a priority. Physical activity does wonders for your mood and your energy levels, and it’s also a powerful stress reducer. Make time for relaxation.  Give yourself permission to take at least 30 minutes every day to relax, decompress, and unwind.
Connect with others.  Spending time with positive people who enhance your life will help protect you from the negative effects of stress. Ever noticed how when you’re short on sleep you crave foods that give you a quick energy boost? Running with music is a great way to get in a groove (just make sure it's not blasting too loudly, or you won't hear those cars!). The most common triggers for emotional eating are boredom, failure, loss, frustration and envy. The insulin released helps stabilize our blood sugar and prevent us from going into a coma.   The body is getting a jump-start on our eating activity, so to speak.
Ever have a craving for your favorite latte?  Do you feel like you can’t function until you have warm cup of love in your hands as you sip down the magical juice?  You know where the local Starbucks is on the way to work and so does your body.  You start to think about that creamy foam and that first, sweet, warm sip of yumminess that IS your morning ritual.  Have you ever skipped your morning ritual?  Does your schedule ever get out of whack and cause you to miss the ritual?  I bet you feel as grumpy as I do because you begin to feel like you missed the best part of your morning? If we can become addicted to something, why not begin to make our rituals and addictions to center around things that serve our bodies and minds well?  Why not begin an addiction or habit to eating healthy foods?  Why not begin an addiction or habit to more exercise and the feeling it gives us?  If our body chemistry and our addictions can be this powerful, we need to create rituals (addictions) that serve us, and not tear us down. Nutrition and Fitness expert Julie DelaBarre is a health and wellness specialist with over 15 years of experience in the nutrition and fitness industry. Each week for 12 weeks, you will receive an email guiding you through a step to becoming more active. Eating in response to psychological hunger can be difficult to distinguish from the hunger associated with the body's need for food. For many people, emotional eating is a significant barrier to healthy eating and calorie management.
Once you begin to recognize that your urges to eat may be triggered by emotions, it's important that you develop more positive coping strategies. By tracking how your emotions influence your choices, you can learn to recognize when you're at risk for experiencing one of your triggering emotions.
Here's a list of ideas for alternative strategies for learning to manage your mood without using food. Deep breathing and other relaxation techniquesRelaxation exercises are great for managing mood. Soothing alternativesThere are many different types of activities that can be soothing and comforting.
Identify and express your feelingsOften times, the urge to eat is triggered by the inability to express your emotion in other more helpful ways. Positive self-talkTry to turn negative and unproductive thoughts into more helpful and productive ways of thinking. Emotional eating is when you eat to comfort, console or avoid feeling and experiencing certain emotions. Questionnaire: Become AwareDo you find yourself eating when you’re not really hungry? Read each question carefully and indicate the degree to which the given statements apply to you.
What are the telltale signs of emotional eating, what foods are the most likely culprits when it comes to emotional eating, and how it can be overcome? When emotional hunger rumbles, one of its distinguishing characteristics is that you’re focused on a particular food, which is likely a comfort food. According to an interview with Jakubczak on the University of Maryland web site, 75% of overeating is caused by emotions, so dealing with emotions appropriately is important. Next, you need to learn techniques that help manage emotions besides eating, explains Jakubczak.

Lastly, remember that emotional eating is something that most people do when they’re bored, happy, or sad. It’s more harmful to eat out of emotional fulfillment than to just have a treat now and again with gratitude. Eating is best done in silence, being aware of the flavors, textures, colors, food presentation and effects to your body when your eating. So after you receive your plate of food for 5 minutes eat our food in complete silence, noticing every detail and eating out of gratitude and appreciation for the manna from heaven. Becka Kelley lectures on emotional eating and also does cooking demos promoting a plant based diet at the TrueNorth Health Center. Check out our online plant-based nutrition certificate that has changed thousands of lives. Our mission is to promote optimal nutrition through science-based education, advocacy, and research.
Emotional eating is using food to make yourself feel better—eating to fill emotional needs, rather than to fill your stomach. But when eating is your primary emotional coping mechanism—when your first impulse is to open the refrigerator whenever you’re upset, angry, lonely, stressed, exhausted, or bored—you get stuck in an unhealthy cycle where the real feeling or problem is never addressed.
Eating may feel good in the moment, but the feelings that triggered the eating are still there. This can be trickier than it sounds, especially if you regularly use food to deal with your feelings.
The urge to eat doesn’t feel as dire or demand instant satisfaction (unless you haven’t eaten for a very long time). When you’re eating in response to physical hunger, you’re typically more aware of what you’re doing. If you feel guilty after you eat, it’s likely because you know deep down that you’re not eating for nutritional reasons.
The first step in putting a stop to emotional eating is identifying your personal triggers.
Did your parents reward good behavior with ice cream, take you out for pizza when you got a good report card, or serve you sweets when you were feeling sad? It’s easy to overindulge simply because the food is there or because everyone else is eating.
If you backtrack, you’ll usually find an upsetting event that kicked of the emotional eating cycle.
Diets so often fail because they offer logical nutritional advice, as if the only thing keeping you from eating right is knowledge. It’s not enough to understand the cycle of emotional eating or even to understand your triggers, although that’s a huge first step. Before you even realize what you’re doing, you’ve reached for a tub of ice cream and polished off half of it. Don’t tell yourself you can’t give in to the craving; remember, the forbidden is extremely tempting. But when you’re already exhausted and overwhelmed, any little hiccup has the potential to send you off the rails and straight toward the refrigerator. You can use a Food Log to help you pay attention to how you're feeling when you eat, and what situations trigger you to eat when you're not physically hungry. For some people, it is a way to escape from uncomfortable emotions, such as stress, anger, or boredom.
To help you understand the events and patterns associated with emotional eating review The Cycle of Emotional Eating diagram below.
The goal is to take the place of some, if not all, of the emotionally satisfying benefits that food and eating provide. Once you've identified the emotion, you can make plans to deal with the emotion with a more healthful alternative. Not all alternatives will provide the immediate benefits that food and eating can provide; however, over time, you can find alternatives that satisfy your needs and help you achieve your healthy eating goals. These techniques provide you with a chance to slow down and consider the thoughts and feelings that might be triggering you to eat when you're not physically hungry. Alternatives for mood management include being with a pet, listening to music, taking a warm bath, reading, doing a hobby, drinking a cup of tea, praying, meditating, and getting a massage.
Use the information from this session to help you identify your emotions and then find ways to talk it out with someone. Eating is such a big part of our daily, busy lives that it’s not hard to fall into uncritical satisfaction or complacency with our eating habits. When you are eating to fill a void that isn’t related to an empty stomach, you crave a specific food, such as pizza or ice cream, and only that food will meet your need. Emotional hunger feels like it needs to be satisfied instantly with the food you crave; physical hunger can wait. Emotional eating can leave behind feelings of guilt; eating when you are physically hungry does not.
According to an article by Wansink, published in the July 2000 American Demographics, “The types of comfort foods a person is drawn toward varies depending on their mood. When you feel overwhelmed, you can put off that desire by doing another enjoyable activity. It might be a bag of chips or a steak, but whatever the food choice, learning how to control it and using moderation are key. We respond by emotional eating which may work for a short time, but usually results in us feel even worse. Identify your triggers, write down what you typically have done in the past in reaction to them, and then come up with at least 3 alternatives to respond to the triggers in a health promoting manner.
Make a list of which foods are a “yes”, which are “maybe, sometimes”, and which are a “no”. This empowers you to deal with the current choice, in your current body and not dwell in the past or imagine what will happen in the future. Listen and accept (not condone, but accept) what they have to say and you will not have to repress them with food. Water fasting such as at TrueNorth Health center can reboot your taste buds so that healthy foods taste more appealing.

By empowering individuals and health professionals, we aim to improve personal, public, and environmental health.
Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization based in Ithaca, NY.
And you often feel worse than you did before because of the unnecessary calories you consumed.
But there are clues you can look for that can help you tell physical and emotional hunger apart. When stress is chronic, as it so often is in our chaotic, fast-paced world, it leads to high levels of the stress hormone, cortisol.
In the moment, it fills you up and distracts you from underlying feelings of purposelessness and dissatisfaction with your life. One of the best ways to identify the patterns behind your emotional eating is to keep track with a food and mood diary.
Write it all down in your food and mood diary: what you ate (or wanted to eat), what happened to upset you, how you felt before you ate, what you felt as you were eating, and how you felt afterward. Or perhaps you stress eat whenever you’re on a deadline or when you attend family functions.
But if you can take a moment to pause and reflect when you’re hit with a craving, you give yourself the opportunity to make a different decision.
Exercise, sleep, and other healthy lifestyle habits will help you get through difficult times without emotional eating. However, when don’t get the sleep you need, your ghrelin levels go up, stimulating your appetite so you want more food than normal, and your leptin levels go down, meaning you don’t feel satisfied and want to keep eating. As you reach your 40s, your muscles become less pliable, so they need to be stretched longer. This 12 pm ‘body buzzzer’ is also the thing that makes us hungry.  As does the Krispy Kreme Doughnut Shop that you pass by on the way to work, making you salivate enough that you’re ready to pull over and get your doughnut fix on.
Learning to eat in response to physical cues, such as hunger pangs, is a very important skill for managing calorie intake. Keep in mind that a strategy that works great at home may not work at the office, or in the car, so you will need to be creative in coming up with strategies that will work in different situations. By relaxing before you make a choice, you're giving yourself time to plan for a more helpful response to your emotion. Find activities, such as calling a friend, working around the house, going for a brisk walk, praying, meditating, or reading, that will delay your decision to eat for 10 minutes, or so. Great strategies include calling a friend, journaling, writing a letter, or confronting a person who upset you. We learn from an early age that food can provide the temporary comfort we look for when negativity presents itself. Although emotional eating has become an all-too-common problem, many of us don’t realize the extent to which our feelings can impact our eating habits. In such cases, select the answer you would most likely choose if you ever found yourself in similar circumstances. For instance, if you have a large bag of chips, divide it into smaller containers or baggies and the temptation to eat more than one serving can be avoided. Have you noticed when you are hungry emotionally and you try to satiate this with food it doesn’t work very well?
Instead of focusing on limitation or lack, focus your attention on abundance and gratitude for what you do have. Cortisol triggers cravings for salty, sweet, and high-fat foods—foods that give you a burst of energy and pleasure. Or perhaps some of your eating is driven by nostalgia—for cherishes memories of grilling burgers in the backyard with your dad, baking and eating cookies with your mom, or gathering around the table with your extended family for a home-cooked pasta dinner. Or perhaps your family or circle of friends encourages you to overeat, and it’s easier to go along with the group. Once you identify your emotional eating triggers, the next step is identifying healthier ways to feed your feelings.
Because you’ve tried to resist in the past and failed, you believe that your willpower just isn’t up to snuff. So don't feel like you have to download Lady Gaga because her tunes are supposed to pump you up—go with any music that you find uplifting. Unfortunately, emotions, both positive and negative, can trigger the desire to eat for many people. Food provides comfort during times of sadness and people often describe food as soothing, numbing, or distracting. The occasional binge may seem harmless, but emotional eating can escalate into something more serious and difficult to control.
In order to receive the most accurate results, answer each question as honestly as possible.
Afterward, not only does the original emotional issue remain, but you also feel guilty for overeating. Compounding the problem, you stop learning healthier ways to deal with your emotions, you have a harder and harder time controlling your weight, and you feel increasingly powerless over both food and your feelings. The more uncontrolled stress in your life, the more likely you are to turn to food for emotional relief.
Not that any situation that we grab for food when sad is a mistake, only if it is the common practice. Find out whether your overeating is the result of a more deep-rooted issue with this emotional eating test. Learning to recognize your emotional eating triggers is the first step to breaking free from food cravings and compulsive overeating, and changing the habits that have sabotaged your diets in the past.

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