One minute you’re enjoying a scoop of your favourite ice-cream, the next you’ve actually finished the whole tub. And some of the chocolate sauce you had in the fridge for the emergencies. What happened? When did you cross the line from enjoyment to concern?
I am sure you’ve heard about emotional eating and binge eating. Are they the same? Are they different? Do you know which one is part of your experience and what to do about it?
The difference between emotional eating and binge eating lies mainly in how much food you consume. But, other key features may help you distinguish between the two and put an end to unhealthy snacking.
I am sure you can relate to the concept of emotional eating. Have you ever come home after a stressful day at work and rather than having a salad you planned for dinner, you found yourself looking at the bottom of the Ben and Jerry’s tub?
Emotional eating (stress eating) is when you eat food not out of hunger, but to sooth any of the uncomfortable emotions you don’t want to be feeling like, anxiety, frustration, or sadness. For some, emotional eating is triggered by a particular traumatic event but for others, it can just be a habitual reaction to things not going well in life.
I have news for you: emotional eating is actually normal, and in some cases, it might actually be beneficial for your mental health depending on how you handle it.
In fact, emotional eating can be great for relieving stress with THE RIGHT FOODS, provided it doesn’t get too out of hand. Eating puts our body into a state of relaxation by activating the parasympathetic nerves. Indulging in and savoring the flavours of food feels good and can lift our moods instantly.
But when emotional eating no longer relieves but rather contributes to stress, it can get out of hand.
One of the way to break the emotional eating habit is healing its roots: stress, frustration, and other emotional ruts.
Take up meditation or yoga to simultaneously tackle stress and improve your self-discipline. Engage in a stress-free activity like painting or fishing and take plenty of time to distance yourself from whatever may be causing your stress – whether that is work, a stressful home environment, or relationship woes.
To make sure your stress eating never borders on binge eating, keep a food journal. Records of your day-to-day eating choices will help prevent you from putting on unwanted pounds and improve your overall mindfulness when it comes to consumption.
And finally, to manage your emotional eating in a far more healthier way, look for healthy alternatives to your favorite go to snacks such as oven baked sweet potato fries instead of the regular deep fried kind or carrot sticks and hummus instead of crisps.
Binge eating, unlike stress eating, is considered by nutritionists as a potentially severe eating disorder. Characterized by constant overconsumption, BED (Binge Eating Disorder) involves consuming huge quantities of food in a relatively short span of time. It’s not just your average bloated belly after a heavy dinner, but a constant overeating that leaves the body uncomfortable and unhealthy.
The transition from emotional eating to binge eating occurs when you lose your sense of control: you move from being conscious of your reason for eating and how much you eat, to eating without any control over intake. It often leads to guilty eating, which is worse for your mental health and stress levels as well. This leads to a vicious cycle: your stress turns into binge eating, and your binge eating fuels your stress.
What’s worse is that the guilt of binge eating (which usually occurs when alone) traps us in a “shame cage”- we don’t want to reach out to friends or family for fear of revealing ourselves.
But BED is too serious of a condition to keep under wraps. Instead, it is vital to talk to someone if you are experiencing any one of its symptoms. Your attitude towards your body image, your history with other mental health complications, and eating habits in general could be contributing to BED.
Total recovery from binge eating is absolutely possible. It doesn’t need to take over your life. To start your healing process I encourage you to keep a food journal to track your habits to work out the emotional triggers that affect your binge eating and the thoughts and feelings you have while on a binge episode. This gives you amazing insights into the WHY of your situation so that you can easily manage the HOW of getting out of it.
The key to healing emotional eating and binge eating is to remain body-positive and to see support. If you like to explore your reasons for either emotional or binge eating I’d like to invite to schedule your free 60 minutes strategy call. We’ll dive deeper into what’s going on and you will walk away with a clarity of what actions to take. Click here to schedule: www.fiminska.com/apply
I only have a handful of those slots available this week so make sure you book yours today.
Lots of love