Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Emotional Hunger: Twelve Types That Make You Break Your Diet

Yesterday I wrote a blog asking if you are an emotional eater. 
I know I am and have been for years. It is like being an addict. 
However, if you are addicted to alcohol or drugs, you can "get clean". You can work through your issues and learn to live a life without your drug of choice. It is not as easy if your drug of choice is food.  If you are an alcoholic, you can avoid places that will trigger you, but you can't live without food.
 When it comes to food issues, you can't be cured, but you learn to manage the food intake every single day. Some days are easier than others.
While I was putting this list together I was surprised how many on this list applied to me in the past and sometimes still applies. However, knowledge is power and if you recognize yourself  in one or more of the lists, well, don't despair. There is help out there. Because of my own story and battle with emotional eating, I have become passionate about supporting others through their struggle.
Below are the twelve types of emotional hunger that trigger Emotional Eating. As you read through the list, ask yourself how many of these apply to you and your life. If you use food in any of the ways listed below, you'll know that Emotional Eating is the real reason you struggle with weight.   Type 1. Food: My Adult Pacifier If you get really hungry when you feel angry, depressed, anxious, bored, or lonely, you use food to dull the pain that these emotions cause.     Type 2. I Stick Up For Myself by Stuffing Myself Up If you react by getting hungry when others talk down to you, take advantage of you, belittle you, or take you for granted, you eat to avoid confrontation.     Type 3. Food: My One Faithful Friend If you crave food when you have tension in your close relationships, you eat to avoid feeling the pain of rejection or anger.   Type 4. When I'm Chewing I Can't Hear My Inner Critic If you tend to become hypercritical of yourself, if you label yourself "stupid," "lazy," or "a loser," you eat to stuff down self-hatred. Type 5. I Don't Have Love but I Have Food If your hunger gets activated because your intimate relationships don't satisfy some basic need like trust or security, you use food to try to fill the gap. Type 6. Food Can't Fill Up the Missing Parts in My Past If you eat to make up for the deprivation you experienced as a child, you eat to forget the past.   Type 7. Don't Tell Me What to Eat If you eat to assert your independence because you don't want anyone telling you what to do, you eat to rebel.   Type 8. I'm Too Busy Eating to Take a Risk If your appetite kicks in when you're faced with new challenges - if you use food to avoid rising to the test, you eat to protect yourself from the fear of failure.   Type 9. Fall in Love? I'd Rather Fall in Chocolate If you stuff your face in order to avoid your sexuality - either to stay overweight so that nobody desires you or to hide from intimate encounters - you eat to protect yourself from getting too close. Type 10. I Use My Body as a Battleground Emotional eaters often eat to pay back those who have hurt them, often in the distant past. They use their bodies as battlegrounds for working out old resentments. If you do this, you eat to get revenge or control anger.   Type 11. I Won't Grow Up If you eat to make yourself feel carefree, like a child, you eat to keep yourself from facing the challenges of growing up. Type 12. I'm Secretly Afraid of Being Thin If you overeat because you fear getting thin, either consciously or unconsciously, you eat to avoid the fear of change. Emotional hunger is real. It's part of life for everyone. If you address the things that make you emotionally hungry, you'll have a chance of having real satisfaction in your life. But if you eat each time you're emotionally hungry, you'll miss the opportunity of satisfaction, and your emotional hunger will continue to grow along with your waistline.

Monday, September 26, 2011

I am an emotional eater. Are you?

I have been an emotional eater for many years. I keep it in check by being very aware of when I am hungry and more importantly why I am hungry.
You may ask yourself: How do I know if I am an emotional eater?

Here are some specific symptoms and signs that you can look for to help you determine if you are an Emotional Eater. See which ones ring true for you...

1. My hunger comes on suddenly.
Physical hunger comes on slowly. Hunger from emotional eating often comes on quickly and suddenly.

2. I crave specific foods—generally not carrot sticks or steamed broccoli.
Cravings for specific, usually unhealthy foods is a sign of emotional eating. Often people like the rush they get from satisfying their cravings. That rush is fulfilling emotional hunger.

3. My hunger feels urgent—I need a particular food right away and I'm willing to walk out of my way, or get in your car late at night, or raid my kid's Halloween candy to get it.
Physical hunger, unless you haven't eaten for a very long time, is usually pretty patient. It will wait for food. Emotional hunger demands to be satisfied immediately.

4. My hunger is often paired with an upsetting emotion—if I backtrack a few hours or a few days I'll usually find an upsetting event and feeling that triggered the urge.
Hunger that's connected to an upsetting emotion or situation is definitely emotional hunger. Physical hunger is not typically triggered by emotions.

5. My eating habits involve unconscious eating—all of a sudden I'm eating ice-cream and I find the whole container is gone.
When you're eating for physical reasons, you are usually mindful of what you're doing. If you catch yourself eating "just because," then it's likely you're eating for emotional reasons.

6. I don't stop eating in response to being full—I keep wanting more of the taste of the food.
Physical hunger doesn't need to be stuffed in order to be satisfied. Emotional hunger on the other hand often demands more and more food to feel satisfied.

7. My hunger isn't located in belly—I crave the taste of a certain food in my mouth or I can't stop thinking of a certain food.
Feeling hungry in this way is usually a sign of emotional hunger or Physical hunger is happy to get what it can, while emotional hunger usually focuses on specific tastes and textures.

8. After I satisfy my hunger, I am often filled with a sense of regret or guilt.
Feeding your body what it needs is not something to feel guilty about. If you feel guilty after you eat, it's likely because part of you knows you're not eating just to satisfy physical hunger.

If you don't experience any of the preceding statements, it's likely that you're struggling with simple biological hunger.