At what point does indulging cross the line from comfort to concern?
Primarily the difference between emotional eating and binge eating is how much food you consume. Yet, other vital indicators may help you distinguish between the two and put a stop to unhealthy snacking.
Stress manifests in different ways, but most of us can relate to the concept of emotional eating. Ever catch yourself wallowing in a container full of ice cream after a particularly stressful event? Emotional eating or stress eating is when you consume food not out of hunger, but out of anxiety, frustration, or sadness. For some, emotional eating is triggered by a traumatic event, but for others, it can be a chronic reaction of everyday life.
In fact, emotional eating can be great for relieving stress with THE RIGHT FOODS, provided it doesn’t get too out of hand. Eating puts our body into a state of relaxation by activating the parasympathetic nerves. Indulging in, and savoring the flavors of food feels good and can make us feel better instantly.
It’s when emotional eating no longer relieves but rather contributes to stress, that it’s gotten out of hand.
At a point, emotional eating gives way to self-loathing as we feel ashamed of our indulgence. We want to hide our “binging” episodes, but because of a lack of other emotional coping mechanisms, they spiral out of our control.
To prevent emotional eating from advancing, we need to tackle the problem at its roots: stress, frustration, and other emotional ruts.
Take up meditation or yoga to simultaneously tackle stress and improve your self-discipline.
Engage in a stress-free activity like painting or fishing. Take plenty of time to distance yourself from whatever may be causing your stress. This could be work, a stressful home environment, or relationship woes.
To make sure your stress eating never borders on binge eating, keep a food journal. Records of your day-to-day eating choices will help prevent you from putting on unwanted pounds. Improve your overall mindfulness when it comes to consumption.
Finally, to manage emotional eating in a far healthier way, look for healthy alternatives to your favorite go-to snacks. My favorites swap is baked sweet potato fries instead of the regular fries, or carrots and hummus instead of crisps.
Binge eating, unlike stress eating, is considered by nutritionists as a potentially severe eating disorder. Characterized by constant overconsumption, BED (Binge Eating Disorder) involves consuming vast quantities of food in a relatively short span of time. It’s not just your average bloated belly after a heavy dinner, but constant overeating that leaves the body uncomfortable and unhealthy.
The transition from emotional eating to binge eating occurs when you lose your sense of control: you move from being conscious of your reason for consumption and how much you eat, to eating without any control over intake. It often leads to guilty eating, which is worse for your mental health and stress levels as well. This leads to a vicious cycle: your stress turns into binge eating, and your binge eating fuels your stress.
What’s worse is that the guilt of binge eating (which usually occurs when alone) traps us in a “shame cage”- we don’t want to reach out to friends or family for fear of revealing ourselves.
But BED is too severe of a condition to keep under wraps. Instead, it is vital to talk to someone if you are experiencing any one of its symptoms. Your attitude towards your body image, your history with other mental health complications, and eating habits, in general, could be contributing to BED.
Total recovery from binge eating is entirely possible. It doesn’t need to take over your life. To start your healing process, I encourage you to keep a food journal to track your habits to work out the emotional triggers that affect your binge eating and the thoughts and feelings you have while on a binge episode.
This gives you amazing insights into the WHY of your situation so that you can efficiently manage the HOW of getting out of it.
Remember to LOVE your body. I’m always available to chat if you need to. I’ve been where you are and having someone to lean on is the only way forward.
Transformational Nutrition Specialist & Soul Coach
Hi, I am Miranda. After years of med resistant depression, anxiety, ADHD and chronic pain, I hit rock bottom. I felt as though my family would be better off without me, and I was ready to end it all.
Luckily before that happened I realized there had to be a better way.
I began my journey of healing myself naturally. It did not take me long to realize that the medicine I needed came from the earth and had been there all along! After only a few weeks of changing my diet, I already felt more like myself.
However, diet alone was not going to work. I began learning and practicing mindful meditation. I have completed 24-weeks of classes, including Mindful Based Stress Reduction and Mindful Self-Compassion. Meditation has been a key tool in taming my anxiety, among MANY more benefits.
I am now a Certified Transformational Nutrition Specialist & Soul Couch, guiding women through their own life transformation – empowering them to reclaim their health and happiness, so they are able to enjoy every bit of abundance this life has to offer!