Emotional Eating

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April 19, 2023

During stressful times, what impact does emotional eating have on us individually? What is emotional eating and what causes it? How can you decipher if you are an emotional eater? Why is it so hard to stop overeating? Also, what can help you to manage overeating?

This episode will feature the lovely Kim McLaughlin, some of what I’ll be sharing comes from her. Kim McLaughlin is a licensed psychotherapist and motivational coach, with a master’s degree in psychology giving her the knowledge, experience and understanding to really help people move out of frustration with overeating and move into action. Author of “Discover Your Inspiration”, she shares her personal experience with overeating and the pain that comes with it. McLaughlin helps people put food in the proper place as nourishment. She will be sharing some great valuable information.

First off, what is emotional eating? Simply put, Kim mentions that it is eating during all your different type of moods. For example, eating when you are stressed, bored or sad. Emotional eating is feeling like you cannot stop overeating and feeling upset with yourself and your body and how it looks when you do. Learning what emotions can trigger overeating can be hard but doing so will help you to be able to do something about it. Eating three times a day means there is three times the amount of opportunity to struggle with overeating. Not surprisingly, everyone overeats at some point in their life! What impact can overeating have on us? Overeating can bring devasting negative emotions and can affect your health when depression and guilt go through the brain.

McLaughlin has shared with her personal experience, she has found “intuitive eating” to be extremely helpful in how she feels about food and herself. Like her, millions of people have struggled with the inconsistency of either gaining and/or losing weight. When you learn to take the emotional part out of food, you can enjoy food, without having that pain of the shame and guilt that can come along with it. What really matters is how you feel about yourself! What else can help? When stressful times come and you have some sort of block in your life, it is important to do some family of origin work and find where the negative voices began. McLaughlin shares that doing so will really help with your overall progression since everyone has such a unique story as to why they might overeat.

What makes it so hard to stop overeating? Kim relates that simply put, food tastes so good and people just find it a challenge to stop eating. Others feel that food helps them manage situations and their feelings they have going on in their life. For others, overeating can just be a bad habit, an ingrain pattern. Still, some may face overeating as a reflection of dieting. Also known as the “diet cycle”, dieting and restriction can lead to obsession, in turn becoming overeating which can bring guilt and shame. Though the dieting cycle can be hard to breakthrough, learning to focus on when you are truly hungry and full can be a huge help.

What can help manage overeating? McLaughlin highlights one of her biggest tips is to get together a list of personal wellness tools. Wellness tools are what helps you to feel good overall. Those may involve taking walks, meditating, journaling, or hanging out with generally positive people. Learning what helps you feel good, will help you destress and figure out what is best for you. What is one of the best and easiest things to do? Take a deep breathe! May seem so simple, but it is so beneficial! You can do it anywhere at any time, even setting reminders on your phone to do so if needed. What is one of the benefits of taking a deep breathe? Overeating can cause you to not be consciously connected to your body but breathing deeply can quickly take you straight back to your body, ensuring you feel more centered and able to make healthier decisions for yourself. Kim also suggests keeping a journal to record what you are eating during the day and what kind of feelings you are having along with that. This will help you determine the connection between what kind of foods you eat when you have different emotions.

If you are turning to food for comfort, the science behind psychology can explain why. Food can be an artificial way to create an endorphin rush to make your brain happy. Whereas a healthier approach can be simply taking a walk to get that neurochemical endorphin feed your brain desires. Remember, you can conquer overeating by following this advice and these tips. Also, try to remember to take those lovely deep breathes and have a positive attitude, which can help your overall health!

Click here to listen to this full podcast