June 4, 2018

Emotional Eating? Why Food Doesn’t Satisfy Your Hunger

Written by Rachel Eddins

Obese woman eating too much in front of her TV

You know the drill. Whenever you feel sad, lonely, or even just empty inside, you start emotional eating and reach for food.

Food provides a comfort, allows a brief sense of fullness, and for a moment you no longer are focusing on whatever emotion you are feeling at the time.

Yet, you never are satisfied with food. Why?


Why Food Doesn’t Satisfy #1: We Have Emotions

We are all emotional beings. That may sound like “fluff” but it’s true. Humans are hard-wired to experience emotions and have been for eons.

Therefore, whenever we try to “cope” with those feelings with emotional eating, using drugs, or drinking too much alcohol it doesn’t work. The feelings don’t go away, at least not for long. That’s why it’s important to understand why we feel those emotions in the first place.

Why Food Doesn’t Satisfy #2: Your History

Your personal history also plays a role in your relationship with food. Look back to your childhood. Were there experiences that you had that were negative?

For example:

  • Being punished or treated poorly by your parents
  • Facing bullying at school
  • Experiencing a traumatic event, such as the loss of a loved one or losing your home

It may be then that you first turned to food not just as sustenance but also as a way to feel comforted. Additionally, you may have a family history that predisposes you to addiction. Thus, it won’t matter how much you eat, the problem will not go away.

Why Food Doesn’t Satisfy #3: It’s Temporary

When we are eating, for that moment we are focused on the physical act of eating. Most likely you are not practicing mindful eating, where you focus on each bite and savor every morsel. But, nonetheless, food is a way to distract.

The problem is that this is only temporary. When you are done, nothing has changed at all!

Read more: How to stop emotional eating 

Why Food Doesn’t Satisfy #4: It Creates New Problems

Another reason why food doesn’t satisfy your hunger is that it can create a whole new set of problems for you.

For example:

  • Shame that you eat so much
  • Embarrassment
  • Health issues, such as weight gain, heart problems, and diabetes

These new problems only reinforce the pre-existing negative thinking that already exists. It means that by coping with food, you are only making things worse, not better.

Why Food Doesn’t Satisfy #5: False Sense of Control

When we feel that we don’t have any control in our lives we will seek it out in any way possible. One way to do this is through food.

Think about what choices are involved:

  • Choosing which foods you want to consume and how much
  • Preparing or ordering the food the way you prefer
  • Deciding what to put in your body

It may not seem significant, but if your emotional hunger stems from a lack of control then food and emotional eating is a quick and easy way to solve the problem. However, that temporary control is lost when you realize that you are losing out on how you want your body to feel and look.

Learn How to Truly Satisfy Your Emotional Hunger

Food should be what nourishes you, not numb you. To really satisfy your emotional hunger you need to dig deep and examine the true source of the problem.

This may mean having to acknowledge that you are experiencing some difficult feelings and revisit some areas of your life that are difficult. Yet, by doing so, you can begin to understand what’s wrong and take concrete steps to heal.

If you are using emotional eating as a way to deal with your emotions, there is help available. You don’t have to do this alone. Consider working with a therapist that understands eating disorders.  At Eddins Counseling Group we have counselors specializing in emotional eating therapy . They can help you to recognize why food won’t bring the satisfaction or control you want and direct you to find healthier ways to cope with your feelings. Contact us at 832-559-2622 or book an online appointment and together you can move past life of emotional eating.

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