In this blog we will consider what is meant by the term “emotional eating”, how to identify it, its impact upon wellbeing, why diets don’t work, and how hypnotherapy can help.
What is emotional eating?
Are you an emotional eater? It’s almost a trick question because, to a certain extent, all of us are. We gather together for birthdays and other celebrations to share food together, we are given a box of chocolates as a mark of friendship…….
So what is so emotional about emotional eating ? When you eat in response to your feelings instead of hunger you are eating emotionally.
It has been estimated that emotional eating is responsible for 75% of overeating.
What does emotional eating look like?
All at once you find yourself needing to eat immediately. Hunger, in contrast, unless there has been an excessively long period since you last ate, appears more gradually and is far less insistent.
Absence of hunger signals
The message to eat is coming from your mind, not your stomach. You do not feel hungry, and yet you feel a compulsion to eat.
Specific Food Cravings
Your mind is telling you to eat specific foods. These are usually less healthy comfort foods; high in sugar, carbohydrates or fat.
When you are eating emotionally you do not stop when your stomach is full. You will continue to eat until your body starts to feel discomfort because you have eaten so much.
After you have eaten to satisfy your feelings you will often feel ashamed, guilty or sorry that you “gave in” to the emotionally driven cravings.
How does emotional eating impact your wellbeing?
The attempt to suppress, squash or overcome difficult feelings by eating is always unsuccessful. You then find yourself with not only the initial difficult emotions that triggered your eating in the first instance, but also the additional physical feelings of discomfort as your body tries to manage this sudden upsurge in food intake. Guilt and shame due to overeating and/or eating in secret add to the mix. You start to feel powerless in the way you relate to food, which causes more uncomfortable feelings…….
What about diets and emotional eating?
A diet restricts your food intake, by quantity, macronutrients (e.g. fat, carbohydrate), or calories. These restrictions can increase your stress levels which can further trigger emotional eating.
Diets focus on changing what you eat, and do not help you manage the emotions that lead you to eat when you are not hungry.
The heart of the problem lies not in the food consumed but in the underlying cause; your current way of attempting to manage difficult emotions by eating.
If diets aren’t the answer, what is?
Working together through hypnotherapy we can change the way you relate to food.
We can restore your perception of food as a way of nourishing your body and nothing more.
By changing the way you think about food you will find it easy to tell the difference between when you are experiencing hunger and when you are feeling emotional.
You will learn new strategies to manage these emotions effectively and be able to apply this knowledge in daily life.
Unlike a conscious resolution or positive decision to change your behaviour or your way of thinking, hypnotherapy embeds these new ways of perceiving and behaving deep within your subconscious mind. These positive changes in the way you respond to food and your emotions are hardwired into your subconscious, creating powerful, lasting transformation.
You will be able to take back control; for today, and for the rest of your life.
If you are ready to take back control and overcome your emotional eating, contact me now to find out more.