I recently read a book called "Eating the Moment" by Pavel Somov, Ph.D. The majority of the book addressed emotional eating and prompted the reader to find out WHY they eat. There are three types of hunger according to the book:
- We eat out of physical hunger (the need for food).
- We eat out of psychological hunger (stress and emotional triggers)
- We eat out of habit (it's 6pm, I should eat even though I'm not hungry)
The book asks the question, Why do we overeat? The answer: because we aren't mindful. [pg 8]
*Mindless of environmental triggers.
*Mindless of the process of eating.
*Mindless of sensations of fullness.*Mindless of emotional eating.
What is eating out of Habit? Here is an example: you go to the movies with a friend. Even though you just had lunch and aren't really hungry, you get a large popcorn with butter (400-1200 calories) and an even larger soda (500 calories) because that's what you do at the movies. (On a side note, MSNBC reports that movie popcorn + soda = 3 burgers and 12 servings of butter!!! http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/34023406)
What is eating because of Emotional Triggers? Emotional triggers could be anything from watching TV, people you associate with food or eating (like the girlfriend you always go out to pizza with) or even the weather (it's a cold, rainy, winter day = let's eat comfort food!). The easy part is making a list of what your emotional triggers are. The hard part? Changing the behavior.
I am very much an emotional eater--and always have been. When I was 250, I was going through some difficult times and I "medicated" myself with food. Ice cream and pizza were my absolute favorites. And to this day, those are the two "trigger foods" for me that can spark an emotional response. My decision to stop eating those two items for 2 years was crucial to me losing weight and staying motivated.
Now that I've lost the weight, I've slowly started eating those two things again. Of course I eat them in moderation now and not all the time. But I still get a feeling of anxiety at the prospect of eating ice cream or pizza.
Question: Do you continue to eat even though you are full? Do you know what full feels like?