Emotional Eating: The 4 Types of Eating
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Emotional eating and I have a relationship that I‘d like to sever. But, we all know, that that is easier said than done. It never really affected my weight until I hit my 30’s, but now I struggle with it. It doesn’t matter the emotion—happy, sad, depressed, tired, bored. Boredom is probably my main problem.
Over the next few days, I am going to give you tools, tips, and information on emotional eating. Today, I am going to start with the 4 different types of eating.
Nourishment is just that, nourishing your body. There is no way around it; you need food to survive.
Our bodies are much like cars when it comes to fuel. It needs gas to run. If you put the wrong liquid in the gas tank, it will not work. The same goes for our body. Fill it with processed foods, chemicals, artificial ingredients, excess sugars and things start to not work properly. Maybe it’s just fatigue, gas, bloat, GI issues, and so on, but what about the effects that might take longer to see: heart disease, diabetes, obesity, etc. Our bodies need clean, unprocessed foods to work at its optimal level.
Also, you wouldn’t overfill your gas tank and let it overflow, just like you shouldn’t overfeed your body. That’s where portion control comes in and mindful eating—which we will talk more about in a later blog.
Eating for Fun
Let’s be honest—food is fun! It’s delicious. I know you’ve heard it before—heck, I just mentioned it—food is fuel, food nourishes our bodies, but food is so much more than that.
Food is pleasure. Food is comfort. Food is entertainment.
I’m not saying you can’t enjoy your favorite dessert—once in a while. Eating for fun doesn’t have to nourish your body, most of the time it won’t, but it sure is delicious. Fun foods are made to be just that—FUN! Give yourself permission before you eat fun foods, so you are less likely to have the guilt or shame that often follows.
Have a plan before eating for fun. Don’t just wing it, that’s when we get carried away. You can’t just walk past a platter of cookies and grab a couple and say “it’s just for fun.” That falls into the mindless eating category.
This is the first category that emotional eating falls. Mindless eating is just how it sounds—you are eating without actively thinking about it. It can be anything from eating a bag of chips while watching tv, taking bites while you are making dinner, or eating fast food in the car. It can also be grabbing a snack when you have recently finished a meal, simply because you are bored.
If you are eating when you are not hungry, then it is mindless eating. Unfortunately, a majority of us spend our time here. We clean our plates even when we were full part way through it, simply because it’s habit. We eat on the run, barely tasting our food and before you realize it you have finished it all.
As soon as you realize you are eating mindlessly, STOP!
Unlike mindless eating, binge eating is intentional. You know you are doing it, you don’t care, or you simply feel as if you can’t stop even when you want to. There are a couple of different causes for binge eating. The first is you have deprived yourself of your favorite foods and then overindulge when you do eat, most likely out of guilt or shame for eating it, to begin with. This is where planned FUN eating comes in.
The other is emotional hunger. Remember, you are in control of what you eat. Take a step back and look for clues as to what is causing the hunger. Loneliness, anger, or even being tired. Binge eating is a great opportunity to learn about yourself. A great place to start is with tracking your meals along with your moods. Eventually, a pattern will emerge. Once you become aware of you triggers you can make a plan to avoid them or handle them when they occur.
How to use the journal
- Record the time of day
- List the foods you ate
- Mark which category it fell into
- Note anything you want to remember; feelings, mood, triggers, thoughts
This is for you only, so there is no judgment. It’s a tool to help you become aware of how you eat. By keeping this journal you will most likely find yourself making healthier choices.
Have you ever dealt with mindless or binge eating? How did being introduced to the 4 categories make you feel? For me, it created a huge mind shift. I’d love to hear your thoughts.