Weight Management

Chronic overeating

Amira Najah/ Clinical Sports Psychologist
01 October, 2014

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It is important to recognize difference between physical hunger and emotional hunger. Physical hunger is gradual, stops with feeling of satisfaction after being full. The emotional hunger suddenly appears, continues despite fullness and leads to a sense of guilt. It is an eating for reasons other than hunger and sabotages weight loss efforts. It is an eating in response to personal triggers such as anxiety, stress, suppressed emotions, boredom, and feeling of emptiness, childhood habits, or social influences.  Eater will try to stuff down intolerant emotions, but these emotions will get back directly after the process of eating, and triggers feeling of guilt, powerlessness and shame. Eater becomes prisoner of his own unhealthy overeating cycle, and eating becomes a negative behavior to silence uncomfortable feelings.


Emotional overeating may predict the occurrence of multiple health problems.  The most common are obesity and weight gain. Stress is the most important psychological factor interconnected with the exposure of weight.  When stress is experienced, appetite and digestion process are affected. Stomach acid levels are reduced. Adrenal glands release cortisol hormone, and cortisol increases appetite. These changes impair digestion and absorption into bloodstreams, delay the satiety signals to brain and keep an ongoing desire to eat. Nervousness and tension may also encourage intakes of foods rich in saturated fats and sugars in order to release frustration.


To overcome extra weight and defeat chronic emotional overeating it is essential to :


1. Identify eating habits

Keep an emotional eating diary, codify quality, quantity and timing of eating and record emotions and feelings before, during and after every meal. Over time, review the memos, and analyze the behavioral patterns revealed and interconnected to emotions and foods.


2. Daily activities

Emotional eating extends generally between 20 to 30 minutes. Control the desire through daily activities in order to discharge negative emotions, and cope with stress. Practice yoga, relaxation techniques, listening to music, reading, watching a comic play...


3. Sports

Waking helps the body burning fat hormone. Physical activities help to control mood disturbances and raise energy levels.


4. Self-confidence

Body shape and weight acceptance are priors to enhance self-confidence. Accepting the current reality of the body helps the mind to take seriously the steps towards weight loss.


5. Social Support

Connecting with other is an important tool to overcome emotional eating. Create close relationship.  Spending time with positive individuals will enhance your life and powering your initiatives to avoid emotional eating.




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Total Comments (1)

  • Emotional eating is a big problem!

    Posted by Abdulrhman Muhammed on July 13, 2015 07:03 AM Report abuse

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