Emotional Eating - Getting To The Root Cause
By Ruby Jusas, Nutrition Health Coach — Redefining Health Medical

Have you been gaining excess weight?

Do you indulge during times of stress (sweets, carbs, alcohol)?

Do you associate negative feelings/ bad days with food or making poor food choices?

Do you “treat” yourself with food as a reward for all of your hard work?

How to Know if You Are an Emotional Eater

The number one trait that identifies you as an emotional eater is if you have people pleasing tendencies or are a straight up people pleaser.

The vicious cycle of people pleasing occurs when you prioritize what other people want over your own wants and desires. Now… people pleasing may seem innocent. I mean, you’re pleasing…people…right? Well maybe, but I promise you, more damage is being done to your inner voice, confidence and sense of self than you would think.

For example, people pleasers are exhausted ALL the time, have little to no boundaries whether it be at home, in the office or with peers and they feel this constant sense of sadness, numbness and anger, yet they just aren’t sure why they feel that way. Well, my friend…this is because your internal spotlight is pointed on others instead of yourself.

What Are The Traits of a People Pleaser?

People pleasers are nurturing, caring, empathetic, great listeners and good friends. They also make one heck of an employee! However, you can show up with a “me first – you second” attitude by choosing who you really are and not who others want you to be. This doesn’t make you a bad person. Focusing inward instead of out, gives you the ability to create your own happiness without compromising your sense of self.

Today, I want to focus on how certain foods (specifically carbs and sweets) become a people pleasing “hit.”

How Your Mood Impacts Your Food Choices

As a people pleaser, when you please someone it’s probably one of the best feelings in the world. You get a rush of feel good hormones, such as Oxytocin and Dopamine. This surge only lasts about half a second so you continuously search for that next person to please to get that feeling again and again. Sadly, at the end of the day no one is ever going to be as pleased with you as you would like them to be. That’s when the feelings of sadness, anger, exhaustion come into play.

Naturally, you then turn to sweets to recognize and acknowledge yourself and your desire to receive that rush of satisfaction from the carby, sugary, salty snacks. These snacks help you to escape the exhausting nature of feeling as if you have to please others before yourself.

What You Can Do Instead of Eating to Handle Emotion?

It can be difficult to distinguish the difference between emotional hunger and physical hunger. With emotional eating you may be able to see if the desire to snack goes away when you distract yourself for about 10-15 minutes. Physical hunger will intensify if it is dismissed.

Here are some healthful, loving ways to show up for and validate your efforts to deter you from heading to the kitchen:

1. Mindfulness Meditations (Apps: Headspace, Calm)

2. Take a long walk in nature

3. Call a friend

4. Read a book

5. Take a relaxing warm shower or Epsom salt bath

6. Acknowledge that you DESERVE to take the time to chop your veggies, get active, prep your meals, etc.

Breaking the People Pleasing Cycle

1. Check in with your gut

The gut houses so many of our emotions. We feel butterflies in our bellies when were excited or nervous about an event, first date or new beginning. Ask yourself, “Is this really what I want?” – “Who am I doing this for?” when you know that you aren’t fully all in on a task, a relationship, a plan.

2. Catch yourself in the “sorry” habit

“Sorry” is such a common and reactive response for people pleasers. Don’t think of yourself as an inconvenience to others. Ask yourself, “Did I really do something wrong?” “Am I apologizing for something someone else did to me?”

3. Set those Boundaries!

What is important to you? The way to change this behavioral pattern is to stop thinking about what makes others happy and start thinking about what makes you happy. Start saying no to the small things that don’t match up with your values. You will begin to see how people really don’t seem to mind and those who do aren’t worth your time.

4. Be okay with feeling uncomfortable

Embrace discomfort as it is an essential aspect of personal growth. Breaking this cycle is not an easy task, but is vital for the health of your body, mind and spirit. Understand that not everyone will be on board with your new decision to speak your mind and stand up for yourself, but you are not here to try to get others to understand you…you are here to understand yourself.

Next Steps

Childhood fears often manifest into self-sabotaging behaviors as adults. A child or teen who felt the fear of rejection and abandonment will develop people pleasing tendencies as adults. They don’t want to feel that they are not enough. Together, I work with my clients to unravel their self-sabotaging, deep rooted people pleasing tendencies in order for them start living for themselves. It is freeing to know that you are in control of you.

It’s all about nutrition, but it also isn’t. Don’t overlook the person behind the food choices. I explore the conscious / subconscious blocks or hurdles that are holding you back from not only living a healthier life, but from being able to SUSTAIN a healthier, more vibrant life.

My work is goal oriented as I focus on what is attainable and fair in embarking on your wellness journey. Whether its creating a better relationship with food, with yourself or getting out of the “what do I eat now” rut, I will stand with you as your partner in health.

Emotional Eating

Childhood fears often manifest into self-sabotaging behaviors as adults

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For more information about my wellness programs and my practice, check out my website drsadaty.com. Hey Look! You are already here…

Ready for the legal disclaimer? Information offered here is for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. As with any health recommendations, please contact your doctor to be sure any changes you wish to consider are safe for you!