Today I wanted to share with you more about why you feel like you can’t stop eating just at one cookie, one piece of cake, one chocolate, etc. I totally get it, I used to feel like that too. When I was dieting and emotionally eating I would eat all the cookies, all the cake, all the chocolate, whatever was available. I just consumed it all.
It’s not really one clear cut reason that this is happening. I’m going to give you a few possibilities.
Before we dive into that, I’m just going to describe what emotional eating is. Emotional eating is when you use food to cope with your emotions. When you’re feeling an uncomfortable emotion; maybe sadness or anger you automatically just go towards food because you don’t know how to be with those emotions.
So you use food to cope. But that’s really just a bandaid solution. This will sabotage your efforts to be healthy, to move forward and feel good in your body.
I’m going to share with you why you might feel out of control around certain foods especially as an emotional eater. Emotional eaters don’t binge on carrots and cucumbers they binge on the processed foods like cookies, cakes and chips.
So how can you tell what’s really going on for you?
1. Emotionally Eating?
The first thing I’m going to say is that you want to really check in if you are truly hungry or emotionally eating. If you know for sure you’re an emotional eater, you’re emotionally eating in that moment. You’re just taking the food, you’re eating it. You cannot stop. It’s because that food is giving you pleasure and numbing out any discomfort temporarily.
All food gives us pleasure. Even the carrots and the cucumbers. But processed foods because of the way they’re made the fat content, sugar and different chemical compounds make them really addictive to our brain. We’re already using food to cope with our emotions which is a type of addiction. Then the food itself is physically addictive as it makes our brain want more and more. It gives us this pleasure high.
It turns on the pleasure receptors in our brain. So we want to have more and more and more. Especially if you’re an emotional eater, the reason you eat is to just numb out and not feel the emotion you’re feeling. So of course, if you have one cookie and you’re still feeling you want to have another and another and another, you’re going to eat all of it.
Here’s a resource to tell if you’re emotional hungry. Download it HERE.
2. Truly Hungry?
The second scenario that might be happening if you’re constantly eating and you don’t know when to stop. In this case you’re truly hungry, you do want the cookie and you keep eating and eating and eating and never feeling satisfied. Part of that reason is that these foods, they’re missing components to truly satisfy hunger. There are four key components to truly satisfying hunger in our body. First of all, it has to be physically satisfying so it fills up the space in our stomachs. Second, it has to have the right amount of micronutrients making it nourishing. The third, is that it has to have enough energy (calories). Fourth, it tastes good, it’s appetizing.
So a cookie, one cookie is going to taste good. It’s going to have tons of calories, but it’s not going to have a lot of micronutrients and it’s not going to take up a lot of space in our stomach.
What happens is we’re going to eat and eat until we feel physically full in our stomach. And then we really get the stop, like stop eating this. If we ate a stomach full of cookies, we’re going to go way over the amount of calories we needed. We’re not going to get we the micronutrients because processed foods don’t have a lot of them. We’re going to get the taste and physically filling up our stomach and we’re getting a surplus of of calories and we’re still not meeting the micronutrients.
So you still feel hungry after that. What’s happening is the body is crying out for nutrients because the processed food is not nourishing and satisfying hunger.
3. Restricting Yourself?
The third thing that I see with emotional eaters who tend to be dieters is that they restrict. They think dieting will help them get a handle on their emotional eating. I once thought this too.
What happens with a restrictive mindset of cutting out all the cakes, candies, all of the things is that you’re not having it in moderation. So you forbid yourself and don’t include it in your life (side-note: there is a way to have it all!). Mentally we become very stressed out with restriction. We’re so restrictive with ourselves that when the “forbidden food” becomes available we have a breaking point and we need that food because we’ve been telling ourselves, no, no, no.
For instance, when you heal your relationship to food you allow yourself freedom around food in general. From personal experience, I can have a box of cookies in the house and I won’t even think about it. I know I’m allowed to have a cookie whenever I want to have a cookie and so I don’t really care for them.
There is an allowing and over time it makes you feel more at ease around that food. You won’t compulsively want to eat it because you’ve just been denying it from yourself. It’s like little kids. When you take something away, they obsess about it. They just want it because you said, no, you can’t have it, and that’s what you’re doing to yourself.
Those are the three main things I see with clients who just can’t stop at eating one cookie or one piece of cake or one whatever. The first is really about emotional hunger. The second more about the quality of the food and satisfying hunger. The third is more about mentally restricting yourself.
I hope this video has shown you what might be happening for you when you feel out of control around processed foods. These are things that we cover in my program, the Emotional Eating Evolution Program. We dive into these concepts and create a way of eating that is nourishing and really focuses on digestion. We remove that lack mindset that diets perpetuate. And of course, we dive deeper into the emotions that are underneath the emotional eating.
If this is resonating with you and you feel like you need more support. Please reach out and book an Emotional Eating Assessment call to see if the program is a fit. On the call, we’ll see where you are at and the goals you have and if the program can bridge the gap to where you want to be.
Questions? Please comment below.
Certified Holistic Nutritionist + Emotional Eating Expert.