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LonelyIn my previous article, “The REAL Cause of Excess Weight“,  I identified Emotional Eating as a common factor making it difficult to lose weight.  We’ve all heard the term “Emotional Eating”, but what does it look like and does it apply to you?

In this 2-part series I describe 15 signs of emotional eating.  I have broken it into two articles to give you time to digest the material…pun intended. ;-)  Most of us engage in some of these behaviors some of the time.  However, when they become daily habits, it’s clear that emotional eating is playing a role in our life; a role we can eliminate with guidance and awareness.

I have made the conscious decision not to label people as “emotional eaters”.  You are not an emotional eater; you are a soul having a diverse human experience.  One of the ways our human experience can take shape is in the form of emotional eating.

The life experiences we have are  continuously changing waves on the ocean surface of our Being.  It’s important to remember that who we are at the deepest core of our Being is permanent perfection; an eternal ocean of Bliss.  If you struggle with Emotional Eating, recognize that all life situations (like the waves) are temporary.  Overcoming Emotional Eating is a process that you move thorough on your journey of conscious evolution.  A process that will eventually lead you to Freedom.

15 Sign of Emotional Eating

1. You eat when you’re stressed (or sad, lonely, bored, anxious, etc.). Though this is the most obvious sign of emotional eating, most people who eat emotionally do so unconsciously.  They seldom recognize that they are having an emotion before diving into a binge. Emotional Eating has become second nature.

2. You eat when you’re not hungry (a.k.a. non-hunger eating). This also includes continuing to eat when you are full.  Although most of us indulge in non-hunger eating occasionally, someone who eats emotionally will find they are usually eating when they really aren’t hungry.

3. You must celebrate with food and eat with others, regardless if you are hungry or even enjoy the food.  I’m sure we’ve all experienced this at some point.  You are at a birthday party….everyone is having cake…so you join in (even though don’t really like cake).  Or maybe you got a raise at work and you go out to dinner (hungry or not) to celebrate.  Does the idea of a party or celebration that does not involve food make you cringe?  The mind uses social convention to justify non-hunger eating, and our society as a whole reinforces this type of dysfunction.  But it’s simply an excuse to perpetuate emotional eating.

4. You get a peculiar urge that you must eat, even though you’re not hungry.  And you may even get angry when your non-hunger eating plans are thwarted.  This can be a tricky one because you may truly believe  that you are “hungry”.  And wouldn’t it be cruel to deny a “hungry” person food?  But upon closer inspection you may find that there is something deeper going on…something that’s almost driving you to eat, often with a sense of urgency.  Maybe you just got some bad news, or your visitors just left and you are now sitting in an empty house.  Whatever the case, there is some emotional discomfort that is registering as the need to eat.  Closely related to this is getting upset when you are planning to eat and someone or something interferes with your plans, blocking your ability to once again bury an uncomfortable feeling under food.  Some form of irritation or even anger follows.

5. You seek solace in food. Food is comforting to you.  This is very common in our society.  We even have the term “comfort food” that we are all familiar with.  Think of your favorite “comfort foods”.  I would be willing to bet that they are quite dense, high in fat, difficult to digest, and have drug-like numbing qualities (like those found in dairy).  The comfort food attraction likely started with our Mothers (bless their hearts) using food to comfort us when we were sad or unwell.  In fact, the very natural design of breastfeeding combines nourishment with being held and comforted, which is perfectly suited for that phase of our life.  Breastfeeding is like a gentle bridge carrying us from a blissful spiritual existence into this often harsh material world with it’s varied emotional states and turbulence.  However, learning to process our emotions is part of the maturing process.  A time comes when weaning is necessary for our evolution.

6. You must eat until full or even stuffed. If the idea of eating “light” makes you shudder, and gives you an instant feeling of deprivation, then you may be prone to emotional eating.  This is partially due to the fact that over-stuffing the stomach literally blocks the experience of emotions via a physiological nerve mechanism.

7. You struggle with your weight due to your eating habits.  Ringing any bells?   Most everyone who struggles with their weight has experienced some level of emotional eating.  This is in addition (and closely related to) the weight gain resulting from consuming addictive foods, processed foods laden with chemicals, and dense heavy “comfort foods”.

To be continued…….