One of the massive questions that frequently comes up for me both as a personal trainer revolves around emotional eating. Most people will, at least at times, eat for emotional reasons. Now this doesn’t have to mean you’re in the depths of depression – there are a whole host of emotions and feelings that can result in us overeating.
Any emotion that makes us feel uncomfortable can lead to us look toward food for comfort. Rather than being released and dealt with, emotions are suppressed and smothered by food.
Let’s have a look at a few:
You might be angry at yourself. You might be angry at someone else. You might be angry at a particular situation. You might just be damn angry! It might be a build up of crappy stuff happening.
Boredom and Loneliness
I would say a huge portion of my clients deal with this (amongst others) form of emotional eating. Just about everyone would have eaten at some stage because they are bored. Nothing to do and no where to go, no one to go with – what do you do? You stay home and often end up snacking on something.
That feeling that nothing really matters anyway and it doesn’t matter what you do, nothing will improve so why bother. In more extreme cases, this type of emotion could be indicative of clinical depression so certainly something to be aware of.
You might be worried about something at work or uni. You might be worried about something happening with a friend or your partner. You might be just worried about life in general, which is certainly not uncommon! Eating can be a distraction from these feelings.
Lack of Control
Sometimes life can become so overwhelming that you feel as though you have no control over anything going on around you. Food and eating becomes the one thing you can control, so you do. While this can obviously lead to weight gain, it is always worth remembering that these types of feelings can lead to other forms of eating disorder when people exercise their control by not eating or purging.
So, as you can see there are quite a few different emotions that can be associated with ’emotional eating’ and this is by no means an exhaustive list.
I will, in the coming weeks, be posting a follow up on this topic with some strategies to deal with some of these emotions as they arise in an alternative way.