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Intuitive vs. emotional eating

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Those of you who have been reading my blog for a while probably already know that emotional eating has been a huge issue for me for so, so long. At times I've been doing better but I know it still is a problem and I really want to focus on stopping this bad habit once and for all.

I can't even begin to count the times I've turned to food when I wasn't even hungry. All those countless times when I was bored, lonely, sad, anxious, stressed, nervous, tired, restless etc. instead of being HUNGRY but nonetheless ate and ate to fill that void inside of me that I wanted to believe was something as simple and straight-forward as hunger. Because hunger is easy to fix, after all! Boredom, loneliness, sadness and other difficult emotions are a lot trickier, and it's so much easier to look the other way and try to numb the pain with food. But we all know it doesn't help! Those feelings still remain, and they come back to hunt you unless you take action and deal with them head-on. Food is not the answer. It just won't help. I KNOW it won't, and yet I sometimes find myself eating everything in sight even when I'm not even hungry. And when I'm in that mindset, it's very, very difficult to stop.

But it needs to stop.

I want it to stop.

Have you ever listened to SparkPeople Radio? I have, and I LOVE IT! I love Lily and Karen, they are so positive and inspiring! Lily often talks about how she lost her extra weight and has kept it off for over a decade, and she said one of the most helpful things she did was to start listening to her body and to only eat when she was REALLY HUNGRY. It sounds so simple, but for people who struggle with emotional eating, it really isn't. It's TOUGH! So often we eat when we're actually not hungry: because it's breakfast time, or dinner time, or because someone is offering us food and we're afraid to say no, or we're snacking mindlessly in front of the TV because we're bored/lonely/whatever. I know I do that quite a lot! But it's actually messing up our bodies. We're not listening to our hunger signals and it's a huge problem. It only fuels emotional eating.

I really want to be more in tune with my body and listen to its signals, and act accordingly. I want to wait until I'm hungry (but not starving or famished!) until I eat. And then I'll eat slowly, savoring every single bite and giving my food my undivided attention, and when I'm pleasantly satisfied, I'LL STOP EATING. I won't be multitasking or watching TV while I eat because I know it's so much easier to overeat when you're doing something else at the same time. When I get an urge to eat something when I'm not actually hungry, I'll stop, breathe deep and ask myself: What is it that you REALLY want? You're not really hungry, so what is it that you actually are craving for? Company? Some fresh air? A glass of water? So often we are actually thirsty when we think we're hungry, so it's a good idea to drink a tall glass of water before eating anything.

It's all easier said than done, but from now on, I'm going to try. It's worth the effort. I want to be more in tune with my body and listen to what it has to say. It's going to be a long process, but I'm willing to take the first step towards a future where emotional eating no longer is an issue. I love how Lily said once that she used to think about food all the time and obsess over what she was going to eat next, and now she only thinks about food when she's actually hungry. I WOULD LOVE THAT.

What do you think? Do you have a problem with emotional eating? How are you dealing with it?
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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

A10TIVTRTL 8/6/2013 8:29AM

    I don't do emotional eating very often, but when I do, it's unconscious. I never realize I'm doing it until after I'm miserably full. It's always anger that sets me off, and I will tear through a bag of chips like a buzz saw. The key to healing this issue for me will be AWARENESS. Thanks for a great blog.

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FUNLOVEN 8/4/2013 8:05PM

    When I think about it just about all the reasons I come up with for eating can fall into the emotional categorie. You didn't mention eating brought on by a significant other. I think I would eat a lot less if it wasn't for my DH ( God bless him for loving me ). So it is a problem are many of us need to work on emoticon

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SNICOLE1984 8/3/2013 12:05PM

    I struggle with it DAILY!! Your blog puts the battle in perfect perspective. For me, the key it to eat healthy, but filling snacks throughout the day. If I wait until I'm hungry to eat I totally binge...every single time! Just have to keep envisioning where you want to be and think of that before eating like crazy! emoticon

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IUHRYTR 8/1/2013 1:12PM

    It is difficult for so many of us who battle loneliness, boredom, stress, and sadness that draws us to food for comfort, but you have pinpointed the problem and set out workable solutions. Let's all get back to asking ourselves if we are truly hungry before we eat. emoticon -- Lou

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MERRY_XMAS 8/1/2013 11:02AM

    I'm eating when I postpone things that I have to do. Postponing makes me nervous and eating makes me happy, so I tend to overeat when I'm off schedule.

I try to drink water instead of eating but it usually doesn't do the trick for me...

emoticon emoticon

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JACKIE542 7/31/2013 8:04PM

    I did, and for me, I have mostly set times to eat, and I eat, I had a bad habit of skipping meals and that was never good, and eating breakfast was hugh for me I would never eat breakfast before. I do different things when I am stressed now, gardening, walking, riding my bike, those are my good habits now. I also keep healthy snacks around, just in case!! Good luck to you, hope this works for you. emoticon emoticon

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ARUNNINGKAT 7/31/2013 7:22PM

    You are really on to something here. It is amazing how different our food consumption looks when we truly listen to when our body is hungry. I struggle so much with eating because I don't know what to do next (often I have so many things to do that I am overwhelmed and eating is just the easiest first step) and so often our body needs so much less food than we manage to cram into it in a day. I am right there with you in the journey to only eat what our bodies need!

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KRISZTA11 7/31/2013 5:10PM

    Great thoughts, thanks for sharing!
You already made lots of healthy changes, and your plan sounds good, I hope it will work for you!

Emotional eating is a problem for me too.
It comes up quite rarely since I'm here on SP and I eat and sleep well and exercise a lot, but it is still there.
When I have that feeling of emptiness that wants to be filled by food, I can rarely stop.
But it comes rarely and my binges are quite moderate.
And a few times I was even able to stop, so there is hope! : )
emoticon

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KENDRACARROLL 7/31/2013 3:41PM

    I find it easiest to just stick to meal times: breakfast, lunch, dinner.
This way I won't have to try to figure out feelings, and level of hunger, and what not. Keeping it simple works for me.

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