We’re all guilty of succumbing to a less-than-healthy treat every now and then. After all, there’s a reason for the phrase ‘comfort food’. But, if you regularly respond to life’s ups and downs by turning to ice cream or a bottle of wine, it could mean that you’re putting your head in the sand(wich) when it comes to your emotions.
“Emotional eating affects so many of us,” says Mel Wells, health and eating psychology coach and author of Hungry For More. “I’m fascinated by what leads us to do this. We think it’s our body telling us to eat, but it’s often our mind creating cravings and telling us to avoid something that makes us uncomfortable or sad.”
Emotional hunger often comes on suddenly – in contrast to physical hunger, which tends to be more gradual. It involves cravings for specific foods, whereas physical hunger can be satisfied with various things. Emotional hunger also often results in mindless, fast eating and you rarely feel full even when your stomach is.
Mel’s philosophy is that unhealthy eating habits are a symptom of a problem elsewhere; you need to explore to identify what it is you’re using food to replace or avoid.
Here are three ways to uncover and fix these emotional habits.