Are you an Emotional Eater?

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Are you an Emotional EaterEmotional eaters are those who use food for comfort.

People are overweight because people overeat. People overeat because of emotions.

When we are born, our relationship with food is very different than it is when we grow older. When we are young our bodies know exactly how much food we need to survive. When you are feeding a small child and they have had enough food they will push the food away, because for them food still represents energy and not an emotion. As we grow older, we are conditioned to view food as an emotion. For example, when a child hurts themselves their mother will say “Have a cookie – it will make you feel better”. As we grow older we start associating food with comfort by watching our families sitting down to eat together. Food becomes a focal point of bringing families together thus representing comfort and security. Somehow food changes from just sustenance to a center of our emotional response.

So how do we remedy this situation? What I suggest is, before you hit the mini bar at the hotel, or anytime you put anything into your mouth, ask yourself a question or two:

Am I eating this because I am hungry? Or am I eating this because of an emotion?

If you can honestly answer this question with “Because I am hungry,” you should eat it. But if your answer is anything else, such as “Because I am tired/lonely/sad/overworked/hate my job,” think again and try to do something else to take your mind off food. Find new ways to comfort yourself, such as taking a bath, listening to soothing music, reading an interesting book, or calling a friend. As you become aware of every bite you put into your mouth, you will start noticing how much food represents an emotion to you. With time you will be able to recondition yourself to see food as energy and not an emotion and eat only what your body requires for energy.

This is what being in touch with yourself means – paying attention to how you are feeling emotionally and physically, and giving yourself what you need for the right reasons. YOU control your food, the food does not control you.


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