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Recognize Emotional Eating_Final

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>> Welcome back. It's great to be here with you as we move through this journey to explore emotional eating together. Emotional eating begins with emotions, being able to recognize, understand, regulate, and express emotions will help you begin to make sense of why you're eating for reasons beyond physical hunger. This is a helpful foundation for working with clients around this often difficult and isolating topic. With that said, the focus of this lecture is to gain a better understanding of what emotional eating is. So what exactly is it anyway? Odds are, you have your own personal way of understanding emotional eating. What does that mean to you? How would you define it? Hit pause and take a few minutes right now to jot down some thoughts. Did you find that challenging at all? Emotional eating is far from clear cut, and we all have different ways of defining it based on our personal experiences and ways of processing information. Sometimes, an example can help bring the material to life. Let's start with a story about a guy named Joe. Joe had a rough Saturday. He spent three hours driving through the pouring rain to attend a high school reunion. He arrived soaking wet and exhausted after getting lost about five times. After catching up with many former classmates, Joe felt like he was the only one without a family and stuck in a dead end job. That night at his hotel feeling lonely, worthless, and ashamed that he had nothing to show for his life since high school, he ordered his favorite meal, a Bacon Deluxe cheeseburger, fries, and a chocolate peanut butter milkshake with a bottle of wine on the side. He just needed to feel good, and comfort food was his medicine. However, after eating the entire meal in front of his favorite TV show, Joe went to bed feeling even more ashamed and worthless than he did before. Can you relate to the story? Have you ever made food choices based on how you felt in that moment? Have you ever eaten to fill a void or self-sooth? Emotional eating is about your relationship with eating, your food choices, plus the emotional motivation behind those choices. It means using food for purpose other than nourishment or satiation, as a coping mechanism for emotions that you don't want to feel, to feel better, self-soothe, numb, fill a void, or to feel some sense of control. Emotional eating is complicated and it's different for everybody. However, here are five things to keep in mind that might help you make sense of the big picture. One, we all eat emotionally sometimes. It's perfectly normal. We all use food as a pick-me-up or as a reward for a job well done. Eating is by nature tied to emotions. Good food makes us feel good, and eating for comfort at times is perfectly acceptable. It can actually be a helpful part of an emotional toolkit that we use to help manage emotions. The problem is when we feel out of control and guilty about it. When we do it consistently and chronically and when it negatively impacts our overall quality of life, it's time to reassess. So if you feel down and out and simply want to eat a piece of cake because you legitimately just want a piece of cake, not because you're using it as a substitute for something else, then this isn't necessarily dysfunctional. Beating yourself up over your food choices and then depriving to compensate is the issue. Two, eating emotionally is about emotional hunger, not physical hunger. Emotional hunger often starts suddenly, feels insatiable, wants instant gratification, and inspires cravings for specific, often comforting foods that are high in sugar, carbs, and/or fat. Emotional eating can leave us feeling guilty, ashamed and out of control. On the other hand, when we eat due to physical hunger, the hunger increases gradually over time and is satiated by a wide range of foods. Typically, we eat until full and then we stop, and we feel pleasantly satisfied afterward. Three, emotional eating is basically eating habits plus emotions. Habits play an important role in emotional eating. These habits include what we eat, how we eat, and when we eat. Habits can be hard to break, especially if we've been eating a certain way for a long time. Adding emotions into the mix can make eating habits especially difficult to break. The habit loop provides a helpful framework for emotional eating. Charles Duhigg explains the habit loop as follows, you see a cue, and you're motivated to do a routine in order to get the reward. Using this framework, you could say that emotional eating is motivated by an external cue that triggers an emotion and food is the reward. In other words, food becomes the coping strategy to help us distance or remove ourselves from emotions we don't want to feel. For example, I once had a client who reached for her favorite cookies every time she called her brother because it was always a stressful conversation. In this case, the cue, calling her brother. The emotion, anxiety about a stressful conversation. And the reward, cookies. As you probably know all too well, we can become less and less conscious of our habits over time. You reach for your first mini muffin on a rough day and the next thing you know, you're eating an entire box of mini muffins on a weekly basis without even realizing it. Habits are a slippery slope and emotional eating easily becomes a habitual coping mechanism as we become less and less aware of what we're doing. This brings me to the next important aspect of emotional eating, disconnection. Four, emotional eating disconnects us from ourselves. First of all, it disconnects us from the body's true hunger signals. Clients who eat compulsively often tell me that they have a hard time knowing when their bodies are actually hungry. Deciphering physical hunger becomes baffling after some time. When we eat emotionally, we're essentially disconnecting from our bodies by not listening to them. We ignore the body signals for hunger by either eating when we're not hungry or not eating when we are hungry. In other words, the satisfaction we get from particular foods or portions depends on the emotions we feel. That's right, emotional eating can mean either overeating or undereating, otherwise known as restricting or depriving. Either way, the amount of food consumed doesn't correlate with the body's need. The type of food also matters. This differs from person to person. For example, one person might reach for a bag of salty chips to help cope with stress, while another person might reach for a box of chewy cookies. We all have our personal preferences when it comes to comfort food. What we eat is less important than how and why we eat. Individual eating patterns can reveal important clues. We typically associate comfort foods with rich, sugary, and high fat foods, and this is a common choice during emotional eating. However, some people cope with tough emotions like anger or loneliness by restricting and depriving themselves with super healthy foods. For these people, food becomes a method of control when life feels overwhelming. We'll talk more about both sides of this coin later in the course. For now, I simply want to introduce the idea that emotional eating comes in all shapes and sizes, just like the people who struggle with this issue. Emotional eating also disconnects us from our values. We get so stuck in the urgent need to satisfy our cravings and eliminate distress that we can't look beyond the moment. When we eat based on emotions, we ignore other areas of life. Again, we'll dive more into that later. For now, I want to highlight two more key points. Five, emotional eating includes connecting any emotion with food, positive or negative. You might have noticed a theme so far, emotional eating isn't black and white. This point is yet another example of this. I've certainly celebrated a happy occasion with a hefty portion of dessert, and I'm sure you can think of examples in your life. Ideally, food brings us pleasure and nourishes us in body and spirit. It only tends toward problematic when we repeatedly turn to food as a main way to celebrate positive emotions at the expense of things like relationships, career, physical movement, and spirituality when we substitute primary food with secondary food. It can also become problematic when we use food as the main way to cope with difficult emotions. In short, when we place food at the center of our lives consistently and chronically, it's time to take a step back and reassess how it's working for us because odds are, it's doing more harm than good. How are you doing? Time for a movement break? Hit pause and take a quick minute to get the blood flowing. Hi again. Homestretch, here we go. To recap, here are five ways to conceptualize emotional eating. We all eat emotionally sometimes, but when food is consistently and chronically a number one coping mechanism, it's time to reassess. Emotional eating means using food for a purpose other than nourishment or satiation. It stems from emotional hunger, not physical hunger. Emotional eating is basically eating habits plus emotions. Something triggers an emotion and we use food as an emotional reward, AKA a coping strategy. Emotional eating disconnects us from the body's hunger signal and from personal values. And emotional eating includes connecting any emotion with food, positive or negative. Okay, one more piece today. What does emotional eating look like? Emotional eating follows the principle of bio-individuality. Everyone has a different experience and there's no one-size-fits-all when it comes to identifying it or figuring out how to work with it. It's not as simple or as clear cut as recommending that a client just crowd out sugar or eat more vegetables. If it were that simple, we'd all do it. Emotional eating is a sensitive and complicated topic, and we all have our own unique journeys as we muddle through it. That said, here are a few possible signs. Eating alone or eating in secret, eating foods alone that you wouldn't eat with others, hiding packaging, feelings of sadness, anxiety, guilt, shame, worry, or powerlessness, and digestion issues, difficulty sleeping, and weight fluctuation. Again, there are many signs depending on the person. Also, do not underestimate the importance of trusting your intuition. If something that a client says stands out to you, perhaps that's something to explore. Remember Joe, maybe his hamburger episode was a rare occurrence or maybe it happens frequently, maybe this particular reunion hit him hard or maybe he often copes with distress by turning to food. These are just a few things to consider. Explore these types of things with your clients, ask powerful high-mileage questions, and take the time to fully step into their world rather than forming assumptions. In the meantime, try applying this material yourself. We've included a handout for you called the Food Relationship Questionnaire. Keep in mind that this isn't meant to be a diagnostic tool rather think of it as a guide to help you start exploring your own relationship with food. After you go through the questionnaire, spend 5 to 10 minutes journaling about anything that stood out to you or any feelings it brought up. Has your thinking about emotional eating changed at all as a result of viewing this lecture? How can you apply this material to your own eating habits? Doing the work yourself reflects your work as an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach. Send out with your course mates in the Facebook group. Again, we're here to support each other. And remember, we all eat emotionally sometimes. Thank you for joining me, I look forward to seeing you soon.

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Duration: 14 minutes and 1 second
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Language: English
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Posted by: integrativenutrition on Aug 30, 2018

Recognize Emotional Eating_Final

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