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Emotional Eating Patterns

Posted Oct 18 2010 10:49am
By Carol Harblin (CHHC)

There are millions of Americans who suffer from emotional eating. What is emotional eating? It is when a person eats when they are bored, busy, sad, happy, excited, stressed, etc. More often than not, people tend to eat more when under stress.

Emotional eating is not that different from people who smoke. It's an easy way of coping - that instant hand-to-mouth routine; Food or with a cigarette.

That's why it's not that simple to slap a patch on the arm for quitting smoking....and we don't have a patch for quitting eating. How do we end this habit of emotional eating then?

Becoming conscious of our patterns and when we enter food into our mouths is the first step.

How do we become conscious of eating when we don't realize our emotional eating patterns?

For each meal, SIT down and take a deep breath before eating and recognize that you are about to eat a meal. It is important to NOT eat when driving or watching TV because our brain doesn't register that we are eating too - and then we may eat too much.

By sitting consciously (at a table) for each meal is a good step to becoming more mindful of your eating and then you will be able to catch yourself when you fall into the "emotional binging" that may occur.

This is why it is good to say a short prayer before eating too, because it sets the stage for mealtime and your brain will be more aware.

Another reminder, is don't be critical to yourself, if you do slip now and then with a binge when you are stressed or something don't freak out and think that you are not going to get over your emotional eating. Nobody is perfect. Emotions run deep and the more we are conscious of ourselves and our patterns then we will learn to control that pattern.

Be patient....and take notice of our patterns.

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