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Secret #2: Understanding Your Emotional Eating Triggers

The Connection Between Food and Emotion

Do you remember a great food experience during a happy moment in your life? A time you had chocolate ice cream on your birthday, enjoying candy after a successful night of trick-or-treating, the five-course dinner you had at your wedding? They are all memorable for a reason: they made a huge positive impact on your subconsciousness and were intimately associated with happy times. And your body, intimately connected to your mind, finds itself wanting more.

This brings up a simple fact about eating: much of it is ruled by our emotional state. No one is asking you to forgo every delicious meal that makes you happy, but you should consider that, alongside our body’s need for nourishment, there are powerful psychological forces at work that may lead us to eat more frequently and less healthfully than is ideal.

These emotional eating triggers, can be positive (as in the examples above), or more likely, negative in nature. Negative emotional triggers often result in eating to avoid experiencing or coping with a feeling, while positive emotional triggers often result in eating to create the associated positive feeling. Indulgent eating is often associated with negative emotional states and keep us from reaching our goal of losing weight. Experts state that 75% of overeating, especially eating “comfort” or “junk” food is caused by emotions rather than real physical need for nourishment.

That is why this second secret is so important. We want to be more conscious of why, when, and what we are eating and understand the emotional eating triggers that urge us to consume certain foods.

What are YOUR Emotional Eating Triggers

So, how do you recognize emotional eating triggers? By first examining what is more evident – your eating habits at the moment, and then identifying the feelings that you are experiencing at that particular moment. Start by recognizing when you are eating without physical hunger, then try to identify the feeling you are trying to avoid or create. These feelings include, but are not limited to:
  • Love
  • Joy and Happiness
  • Surprise
  • Anger, Frustration and Jealousy
  • Sadness, Depression, Guilt, Shame, Remorse and Pity
  • Fear, Panic, Anxiety and Worry

What is the Source of YOUR Feeling?

Emotional eating may suppress or soothe negative emotions temporarily, but often the root of the problem remains and they will return again. You may also bear the additional burden of guilt about interrupting your weight loss plan. This can lead to a unhealthy cycle – your emotional eating triggers compel you to overeat, you beat yourself up for getting off your weight loss track, you feel bad, and you overeat again.

Major life events and the stress of daily life can trigger these negative emotions, ultimately leading to unhealthy eating habits and deviating from your weight loss journey. In order to make changes for the future, it can help to identify the source of the emotion. Ask yourself, what prompted you to feel that feeling? Emotional eating trigger may stem from:

  • A stressful work environment
  • Unemployment
  • A move to a new city
  • A death or birth in the family
  • Financial struggles
  • Health issues
  • Relationship conflicts
  • Mental exhaustion

More Secrets for Successful Weight Loss

Secret #1: Knowing your food (Carbohydrates, proteins and fats)

Secret #2: Understanding the emotional triggers that lead us to eat the way we do

Secret #3: Recognizing your eating behaviors and habits

Secret #4: The impact of sleep and weight loss

Secret #5: The effect of energy levels and stress on weight loss

Secret #6: Appreciating how digestion impacts weight loss

Secret #7: Making healthy portion size decisions

Secret #8: How to eat out and still lose weight

Secret #9: Learn how to work out anytime and anywhere