Have you ever heard the saying “Eating our feelings”? Well.. with the holidays around the corner, over-eating is on the rise! That said, it’s important to learn how to curb our appetites, proverbially, or not.

So, How do we learn to control ourselves during this time where overindulging is encouraged, condoned, and expected?

The first step is to recognize ‘Eating cues’. Eating cues will clue you into whether you are physically hungry or psychologically hungry which is often a very confusing distinction because they feel very similar. The difference being is that if you eat food when you are not physically hungry, you will feel uncomfortable and bloating when really perhaps you were anxious & needed to do some yoga or meditate instead. Often ‘eating our feelings’ will feel satiating at the moment but will ultimately result in shame & blame and further over-eating to avoid more shame & blame.

The goal is to have ‘appetite-related’ cues as opposed to internal vs. external cues which can be easily triggered at holiday parties. Appetite related cues are as simple as feeling hungry vs. feeling full. Unfortunately, due to not being able to distinguish between physical and psychological hunger, most people will over-eat without realizing it.

Here are some of the internal & external cues surrounding eating that trip most people up:

Internal cues about not eating: feeling fat/bad, fear weight gain, need to feel in control, rules about forbidden foods

Internal cues about eating: cravings, enjoyable thoughts about eating, feeling deprived

External cues about not eating:  social comments, clothes feeling tight, thin-ideal from the media

External cues about eating:  food is available, its ‘mealtime’, social pressures, people talking about food, etc.

If you struggle with emotional eating, please visit us at Specialized Therapy or call us at  1-201-488-6678 and we would be happy to help you!