Emotional Eating Therapy
in Houston, TX and Online
Are You an Emotional Eater?
Emotional eating therapy can help you get back on track.
Emotional eating therapy can help you get back on track.
What is Emotional Eating?
Emotional eating is consuming food in response to cues other than biological hunger. Such as eating as a means of avoidance, procrastination, stress management, coping with feelings, boredom, loneliness or vulnerability, self-soothing, comfort or eating for other non-hunger emotional cues. Even pleasant emotions can be triggering.
We all eat emotionally some of the time, comfort eat, stress eat, and use food to regulate our emotions.
Dealing with your feelings by restricting food, overeating, only eating “healthy food”, grazing, or reaching for comfort food are all different ways of emotionally eating.
Your eating habit can be that of an emotional eater even if you avoid junk food or make healthy food choices. Emotion driven eating refers how we eat vs what we eat.
When food becomes your primary coping strategy it becomes problematic and is referred to as emotional eating or compulsive overeating.
Food cravings however, don’t necessarily indicate that you are an emotional eater. Eating habits such as skipping meals, fasting, or avoiding food groups such as carbs, can all lead to food cravings, reaching for food and even binge eating.
It's Really Not About The Food
Then Why Can’t I Stop Eating?
Many issues with food aren’t really about food at all. They indicate that something in life is out of balance. For some people, it might be habit, or “in front of me” eating.
For others, it can indicate that the body is out of balance. Whether due to chronic stress, hormones, irregular eating patterns, restricting food groups, eating “naked” carbs, brain chemistry, or other physical imbalances. These types of imbalances often lead to strong cravings and ups and downs in energy.
What’s important here is to learn ways to balance your body’s chemistry. Having a thorough evaluation with your doctor of blood work, thyroid, hormones, vitamin deficiencies and blood sugar can also be important.
Mental health issues (such as in depression, trauma or ADHD), unmet emotional needs, lack of pleasure, and feeling stressed all the time can contribute to emotional imbalances.
Therapy for emotional eating is integrative and will help you identify both physical and emotional eating triggers so you can overcome emotional eating.
Do You Emotionally Eat As Your Primary Coping Strategy?
Many people experience distraction, comfort, soothing, or safety in food. Sometimes food is comforting a clear trigger such as anger and shame over a negative performance evaluation. Most often, it comes on mindlessly due to a subtle emotional trigger such as boredom, irritability, or simply the need to take a break.
While this may take the edge off stress in the short-term, reaching for food as your primary coping strategy can become an addiction or an eating disorder in the long-term.
If you’re like many people feeling out of control with food, the knee-jerk reaction is to try and control food, for example, through dieting. Diets don’t work in the long run and can lead to further complications. In fact, food restriction, fasting or skipping meals can often cause bingeing later.
You can heal from the inside out. Many diet and weight loss programs only address food or healthy lifestyle behaviors, leaving you without the tools you really need to heal.
This is not a quick weight loss solution, but rather a long-term physical and emotional health solution. In therapy, you will learn to tune into and respond to your body’s needs in a way that nurtures and supports your best self.
Therapy for Emotional Eating Can Help You:
- Learn to recognize, understand, and meet your needs
- Take the judgment out of food and make peace with food, mind, and body
- Stop emotional eating and conquer cravings
- Assert yourself and communicate your needs with others
- Challenge limiting body and food related beliefs
- Cope with emotions such as depression, anxiety, anger, and loneliness without the use of food
- Increase self acceptance and body image
- Decrease feelings of inadequacy or lack of control in life
- Return to your body’s natural and healthy weight
- Live your life based on your values
- Let go of shame and self-judgment
- Set healthy boundaries in your life and relationships
- Develop new strategies for stress relief, soothing, comfort and pleasure
Emotional Eating Counseling FAQ's
If you are feeling out of control with food a natural solution is to attempt to control emotional eating.
Unfortunately, the more we try to gain control over food, which is a natural biological instinct, the more out of control we become.
Over time, this can only make you feel worse and increase negative feelings of guilt or shame.
If you use food to avoid uncomfortable emotions, it feeds the cycle of emotional eating that becomes a risk factor for developing an eating disorder. Not an emotional eating disorder per se, but rather developing into a disordered eating pattern that can become an eating disorder.
- You may become more restrictive with food in an attempt to control overeating, only to find yourself binge eating later.
- Restrictive eating can also be a way of calming yourself or feeling in control of your emotions. Over time this can lead to an emotional eating disorder.
- Or you may limit food groups until your list of "bad foods" is so limiting, it robs you of your energy, impacts your social life and takes up too much mental space.
- You may discover that focusing on controlling food distracts you from the stress in your life and becomes an "effective" way of dealing with your feelings.
For many people, eating disorders develop after a pattern of emotion driven or disordered eating.
Get emotional eating help now and learn healthy ways to gain control of emotional eating before it takes control of you.
What is Attuned Eating?
Attuned eaters distinguish emotional hunger from physical hunger. Attuned eating means paying attention to your body's hunger, fullness and satisfaction signals. It also means differentiating stomach hunger from mouth hunger or meal hunger from snack hunger for example.
If you have physical hunger, you can identify what and how much to eat. If it's an emotional hunger, you can learn to identify the emotional need and what would truly satisfy you.
What is Intuitive Eating?
Intuitive eating is a process of attuned eating and letting go of food rules and "good and bad" foods while respecting and moving your body, practicing kindness and self-compassion, coping with emotions and honoring your health.
Intuitive eating isn't necessarily about healthy eating or avoiding junk food or comfort food. Eating intuitively doesn't mean that you don't eat emotionally some of the time or you eat every snack or meal mindfully. You're human after all!
Rather, it's listening to your body's internal cues and responding to them most of the time. And some of the time food is just fun, or pleasurable.
In fact, many people who identify as an emotional eater are more knowledgeable than the average person about diet and nutrition, healthy living and have high levels of will power.
Mindful eating simply refers to being in the present moment with your food, including engaging all of your senses into the entire process of preparing, appreciating, smelling, tasting, chewing, and swallowing your food.
Making peace with food and becoming an attuned eater involves 3 primary internal stages:
- Practicing physical self-care including sleep, not skipping meals
- Honoring your hunger
- Recognizing and respecting fullness
- Discovering satiety and satisfaction from food
- Movement and exercise
- Honoring health
- Rejecting diet mentality
- Awareness of and elimination of food rules
- Recognizing core beliefs about self
- Challenging negative self-talk about food and body image
Feelings & Emotions
- Awareness of the connection between mood and food
- Coping with feelings and stress without using food
- Practicing mindfulness skills
- Focusing on values vs. fears
- Self-soothing skills
Our group programs offer additional opportunities for growth and support for people who struggle with food issues.
Groups can be a powerful way to heal from emotional eating as you embark on the journey to recovery with others who understand and support you.
Our virtual emotional eating therapy group is online and offered during lunchtime hours from 11:45-1pm.
A dietician may also be beneficial for you in your recovery from emotional eating or an eating disorder.
Eddins Counseling Group is a mental health counseling center. We offer emotional eating therapy, but we do not offer nutritional therapy. We will provide referrals to dietitians in the community to complement your emotional eating counseling services.
Nutritional therapy is not about meal plans or food journals (though a food and mood journal can be helpful). Rather, it is about finding a balance of food choices that do not trigger food cravings and maintain energy levels while establishing a consistent eating rhythm.
Take the Next Step to Break the Cycle of Emotional Eating
Gain control of emotional eating end the struggle with food! Our licensed therapists can help you stop struggling.
Types of Therapy & Support Available:
- In Person or Online Individual Therapy for Emotional Eating
- Group Therapy Through Our Make Peace with Food Program
- Online Beyond Emotional Eating Self-Directed Course
Make peace and find joy.
Without food, we can’t live, and without a good relationship with food and our body, we can’t thrive.
Get Help From a Specialist in Emotional Eating Therapy
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