Are You An Emotional Eater?

5 Jan, 2021 | Dr. Malik | No Comments

Are You An Emotional Eater?

Most of you don’t know me. I am the dietitian for the Muscle and Joint Clinic in Mississauga. Interesting fact – I reside 20 hours drive away from Mississauga in a small town called Sioux Lookout.  When I am not seeing my Mississauga clients virtually, I work as a primary care dietitian for the indigenous population in the Sioux Lookout zone. Yesterday, I have just come back to Sioux Lookout from my visit in the GTA, and as part of my responsibility as a health care provider for the indigenous population, I must isolate for 14 days before seeing my northern clients again.

Today was merely day 1 of my 14-day isolation, I can already feel the physical and emotional impact. I am what you call the typical emotional eater. I eat when I am sad, I eat when I am bored, I eat when I am tired, I eat when I am stressed, and I eat when I am happy. And I stop when my stomach starts aching or when I run out of food.

Today, I feel like I went through all these emotions in just one day. Not being able to go out or talk to anyone in-person is particularly hard for an extrovert like myself. As a result, I turned to food for comfort. Food has a way to fill the void and create a false feeling of “fullness” or temporary wholeness, but deep down I know it’s not a solution to how I am feeling.

So how do you know you are experiencing emotional hunger, not physical hunger? 

  • The feeling of hunger comes abruptly (Physical hungry develops slowly over 3-6 hours)
  • You crave only certain foods (When you’re truly and physically hungry you would eat pretty much anything)
  • You binge on food but do not feel a sensation of fullness (Because your guts and brain are not talking to each other)
  • You feel guilt or shame about eating (You should feel good and satisfied after eating) 

I have become aware that at some point I will have to stop this vicious cycle of binge eating and feeling guilty, the next step is to adjust my environment and mentality to help break that cycle. 

If you are also an emotional eater, first step is to identify the said issue, next is to talk to a registered dietitian who can help you to break that cycle.

Stay safe and healthy! 

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