5 Signs You May Be An Emotional Eater

August 16, 2018

Alexandra, Eating Disorders

5 Signs You May Be An Emotional Eater

You reach for a bag of chips after a long day of work. You get into a fight with your spouse and find yourself craving something sweet.  After dinner everyone in your house has gone to bed and you find yourself craving bread and fighting the urge to order pizza.  If you find yourself nodding, you may be struggling with emotional eating. When we’re eating emotionally we tend to eat a large quantity of food in a short period of time, or we may snack mindlessly throughout the day. In either case when we are emotionally eating we are not eating mindfully to satisfy physical hunger; we are eating in response to an emotion or life situation. Many people eat to soothe anxiety, fear or frustration, feelings of boredom or loneliness. You may have grown up in a family where food was one of the only ways you felt nurtured or cared for and now as an adult you rely on food to feel nurtured.

Below is a checklist of symptoms of emotional eating if you check yes to the symptoms below you may be struggling with emotional eating. The good news is there are many ways to work through and heal your relationship with food. Becoming more aware of your physical v. emotional hunger can help, as well as understanding the underlying issues that are causing you to feed your emotions.

Symptoms of Emotional Eating

    1. You frequently crave a specific type of food (such as sweets, salty foods like chips or carbohydrates such as pizza or bread)
    1. You feel strong, negative emotions such as guilt or shame around your eating behaviors and may want to hide your eating patterns from others.
    1. You may eat a large quantity of food very quickly (such as entire pizza or bag of cookies) or eat throughout the day without paying attention to what or how much you are eating
    1. After stressful or overwhelming life events you find yourself craving specific foods
  1. You feel like you’re stuck on a merry go-round of weight gain and loss.

If you identify as struggling with emotional eating, you have nothing to be ashamed of. Give yourself credit for acknowledging that you are struggling and know that many people struggle with their relationship with food. You can learn to heal your relationship with food and to nurture yourself in new more beneficial ways. The first step toward healing your relationship with food is to begin to treat yourself with kindness. So give yourself some credit for being open to acknowledging your challenges and tell that critical head in your voice to hush.

by Alex House