There is some difference of opinion within the healthcare fraternity as to whether or not emotional eating should be classed as an eating disorder at all. Having said that, the school of thought is that because it represents an unhealthy relationship with food, it ought to be classified as being a problem and therefore an eating disorder.
What is Emotional Eating Disorder
An individual who resorts to eating emotionally uses food as a crutch for their problems and, oftentimes, does so without even realizing. They are using food to handle their emotions and feelings. If they are anxious or worried, they automatically turn to the cookie jar. Boredom may also be categorized as emotional eating since it is also a state of mind.
Consider these questions to find out whether you are an emotive eater or not
- Do you eat frequently when you are not even hungry
- If you are feeling sad, lonely or depressed, do you have a favorite comfort food
- Is food a diversion to escape any kind of problems you might have
- Do you have difficulties differentiating between true hunger and the munchies
- Does eating something lift your spirits
- Do ever notice yourself worrying about the food you eat
- Do you eat to treat yourself
- Is eating and food a way of distracting you from the issues in your life.
If you answered yes to any of those questions, then you have had experience of emotional hunger and you almost certainly indulge in emotional eating more frequently than you are aware of.
Food is associated with all the important occasions in our lives including Christmas, weddings, birthdays, as well as any other anniversaries we consider significant. Using food for these kinds of festivities is normal and natural. However, whenever we use food as a comfort to relieve our unhappiness or compensate for something missing from our lives, that is when problems occur.
Overcoming Emotional Eating
Once you have identified yourself as an emotional eater, you need to find a way to overcome the condition.
Among the first things an emotional eater must do is become more aware of their eating habits and be conscious of exactly what they consume. They might not understand all that meaningless munching on calorie-laden treats is playing havoc with their health and wellbeing. They eat and oftentimes are not even aware of the taste of the food, which has just passed their lips since it is the very action of eating that is giving them comfort.
Learning how to overcome emotional eating disorder can be tough. Nevertheless mastering new behaviors like keeping food journals to monitor the quantity of food eaten is a step in the right direction. Strategies can then be put in place to keep poor eating habits under control.