Mmmm - donut. Homer may be the victim of emotional overeating. Image courtesy of thewellnesswarrior.com
I am the first one to admit that at the end of the day, when I am all curled up on the sofa watching television at night, I reach for a packet of chips or even ice cream to name - you name it. I feel I have to have them while relaxing at night. Thereís no real reason for me to crave all this junk food (which I also eat far too much of in any one of these sittings), despite having eaten dinner and feeling quite full.
I think itís partly the comfort factor. I feel more snug and relaxed when I eat all this yummy food. I am overeating emotionally.
There would be nothing wrong with this, except for my self-esteem suffers when I step on the scales the next day. There is a cost to this overeating in terms of my increasing dress size, as well as to my health.
I decided to try to get to the mental root of why I engaged in this self-destructive behaviour.
Firstly, I decided to just sit in front of the television with a small portion of my treat foods, for example one bowl of ice cream with chocolate topping. This was instead of a bowl of ice cream and a packet of chips, and a family size block of chocolate.
Instead of thinking ďIím missing out,Ē as I enjoyed my ice cream, I noticed I was taking the time to really enjoy it, and not consume it mindlessly. I noticed its cool creamy rich texture, the fresh vanilla flavour, and savoured the sweet chocolate covering it. I ate it slower. Normally, I just eat it without thinking. Without noticing anything.
When I had finished, I didnít feel uncomfortably full.
It did take a few days of practicing this before I felt I really didnít need a lot of junk food to enjoy myself more.
After a few days, in fact, ceasing this habit of emotional overeating became not just an urge overcome, It had its own rewards. I dropped 2 kilos in just a few days. Also, I became proud of myself for the self-control and self-regulation I was practicing.
Over the week, I noticed I had saved money. You know how expensive junk food can be. A family block of chocolate is about four dollars each.
Over the course of a month, I felt my health improve - both bodily and mental. For instance I had more energy, and I experienced greater mental clarity and concentration.
Stopping emotional overeating is not about denying yourself treats altogether. Itís about being moderate. The key to knowing you can stop is trying it just for one day, and this will reward you such that you will find that eating for the sake of eating might feel good at the time, but thatís just about as far as it goes.
In summary, eating in moderation will:
- Help you enjoy more of what you are eating
- Making eating a more mindful experience
- Give you confidence that you can overcome this
- Help you lose weight
- Improve your physical health
- Improve your mental health
- Save you money
- Help you to become aware of the reasons you engage in overeating behaviour in the first place