Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Emotional Weight Gain

Erin Traill, success story, weight loss tips, emotional eater, transformation, beachbody, coach, fit mom

Are you an emotional eater like me? I used to eat when I was happy, when I was sad, bored, confused, procrastinating, really anything! Ha! Funny thing is, it never made me feel better - it only made me feel worse, made me feel fat and made me feel guilty! Truth is - we don’t always eat simply to satisfy hunger. We also turn to food for comfort, stress relief, or as a reward. Unfortunately, emotional eating doesn’t fix emotional problems. Never has, never will... I think some of these habits start in childhood, and I work really hard to break the cycle with my daughter... If you are a mom, how many times have you used food as a reward? "Eat all your dinner and you can have ice cream." or "you were a good girl today, you can have an extra popsicle." I know I am guilty of this just today!

Erin Traill, success story, weight loss tips, emotional eater, transformation, beachbody, coach, fit mom

Using food from time to time as a pick me up, a reward, or to celebrate isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But when eating is your primary emotional coping mechanism—when your first impulse is to open the refrigerator whenever you’re upset, angry, lonely, stressed, exhausted, or bored—you get stuck in an unhealthy cycle where the real feeling or problem is never addressed.

Emotional hunger can’t be filled with food. Eating may feel good in the moment, but the feelings that triggered the eating are still there. And you often feel worse than you did before because of the unnecessary calories you consumed. You beat yourself for messing up and not having more willpower. Compounding the problem, you stop learning healthier ways to deal with your emotions, you have a harder and harder time controlling your weight, and you feel increasingly powerless over both food and your feelings.

So what is the difference between real hunger and emotional hunger??? Glad you asked...

  • Emotional hunger comes on suddenly. It hits you in an instant and feels overwhelming and urgent. Physical hunger, on the other hand, comes on more gradually. The urge to eat doesn’t feel as dire or demand instant satisfaction (unless you haven’t eaten for a very long time).
  • Emotional hunger craves specific comfort foods. When you’re physically hungry, almost anything sounds good—including healthy stuff like vegetables. But emotional hunger craves fatty foods or sugary snacks that provide an instant rush. You feel like you need cheesecake or pizza, and nothing else will do.
  • Emotional hunger often leads to mindless eating. Before you know it, you’ve eaten a whole bag of chips or an entire pint of ice cream without really paying attention or fully enjoying it. When you’re eating in response to physical hunger, you’re typically more aware of what you’re doing.
  • Emotional hunger isn’t satisfied once you’re full. You keep wanting more and more, often eating until you’re uncomfortably stuffed. Physical hunger, on the other hand, doesn't need to be stuffed. You feel satisfied when your stomach is full.
  • Emotional hunger isn’t located in the stomach. Rather than a growling belly or a pang in your stomach, you feel your hunger as a craving you can’t get out of your head. You’re focused on specific textures, tastes, and smells.
  • Emotional hunger often leads to regret, guilt, or shame. When you eat to satisfy physical hunger, you’re unlikely to feel guilty or ashamed because you’re simply giving your body what it needs. If you feel guilty after you eat, it's likely because you know deep down that you’re not eating for nutritional reasons.


    Erin Traill, success story, weight loss tips, emotional eater, transformation, beachbody, coach, fit mom

    So what should I do instead of eat???

    • If you’re depressed or lonely, call someone who always makes you feel better, play with your dog or cat, or look at a favorite photo or cherished memento. WORKOUT!!!
    • If you’re anxious, expend your nervous energy by dancing to your favorite song, squeezing a stress ball, or taking a brisk walk. WORKOUT!!!
    • If you’re exhausted, treat yourself with a hot cup of tea, take a bath, light some scented candles, or wrap yourself in a warm blanket. SLEEP OR WORKOUT!!
    • If you’re bored, read a good book, watch a comedy show, explore the outdoors, or turn to an activity you enjoy (woodworking, playing the guitar, shooting hoops, scrapbooking, etc.). WORKOUT!!! (get where I am going here)
    Erin Traill, success story, weight loss tips, emotional eater, transformation, beachbody, coach, fit mom

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