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Emotion eating...it is real




What happens during those periods of emotional and binge eating? First of all, it is real and it can cause a very serious struggle for many. So why does it happen? People who emotionally eat do this to suppress and sooth negative feelings. Negative feelings bring about a feeling of emptiness or an emotional void. Hence, people then turn to "comfort" food to fill that void and create a false feeling of "fullness" or temporary "wholeness". What this leads to is a feeling of shame and guilt for eating this way, which can lead into a binge and repeated cycle. It is important to understand triggers. The more knowledge and awareness you have over your emotional / binge episodes the better you will be at managing this. Some emotional triggers can be stress and anxiety, boredom, childhood habits or trauma. This all goes hand in hand with environmental triggers such as social events, work colleagues, too many snacks in the home or partners and friends. It's also important to know the difference between emotional and physical hunger. Emotional hunger is hunger that becomes sudden, feelings of guilt after eating food, hunger that persists after a good amount of food has been consumed. Physical hunger is when hunger has built up gradually, you are satisfied after eating food, and hunger that goes away when full.


So there is the H.A.L.T Method which I recommend clients use when they feel cravings come about. If you are hungry, don't deprive yourself, but instead understand the difference between real hunger and emotional hunger. Ask yourself are you HUNGRY? are you ANGRY? are you LONELY? are you TIRED? So what to do if you have binged? Instead of the punishing cycle of restriction followed by more cravings and binging again, stick to your plan after a binge to reduce stress and enjoy your diet much more. However, don't ignore but instead reflect on why you did it. Don't massively restrict calories the next day, but instead use that extra energy consumed by going for a walk or run or sneak in an extra gym session. Don't put yourself down and think you are a failure. Instead, keep hydrated to aid digestion and satiety.


Don't give up and continue to binge for the rest of the day. Instead, accept it and get back on track as soon as possible. So, to sum it all up. Knowledgeable awareness of the subconscious reasons for you reaching food can help you take conscious actions and help manage cravings better. Emotional eating which can lead to a binge can happen to anyone. It's how you react after it happens that matters the most. It's always best to add foods you enjoy to your diet as restrictions lead to massive cravings over time which ultimately can lead to binge eating as it cannot be sustained for a long period of time.

If you relate to any of this and need help, reach out!

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