Emotional overeating is common as you grow older but what exactly is this phenomenon? Let’s break it down for you. If you’ve ever turned to food during moments where you’ve felt extreme emotions, then you were probably emotionally eating. Finding comfort in food is part of emotional eating and may feel like a relief in the current moment. However, emotional eating has long-lasting repercussions that can take a toll on your physical and mental health. We will explore the triggers for emotional eating, what the side effects are and provide a list of tips for managing emotional eating.
What Causes Emotional Overeating?
Any emotional problems that occur in your personal or professional life can cause overeating, especially if there are strong, negative emotions that you are experiencing. Some of the negative feelings many retirees commonly face are stress, boredom, loneliness and frustration. This is why they may turn to food to fill the void or distract themselves from the pain that their emotions are causing them. Food can create a sense of being full, which is what retirees facing these feelings crave.
What are the Side Effects of Emotional Overeating?
Emotional eating once in a while might be fine, however, recurring emotional eating can cause the following side effects.
- Guilt: This is one of the most common feelings that emotional eaters face after they have finished eating their foods. They feel as though too much food has been consumed by them and regret this decision.
- Nausea: Those who eat when they are feeling strong emotions are often clouded by their feelings and end up eating more than they need as they are not in tune with their bodily needs. Hence, this overeating can cause stomach pains and nausea.
- Weight-related issues: Diabetes, high blood pressure, and fatigue are all physical side effects that you may face because of emotional overeating.
Some Tips to Manage Emotional Overeating
If you feel like these side effects are troubling you, not to fret! Here are our tips and advice on how you can manage emotional overeating. As usual, if you feel like the symptoms are getting too much for you to handle personally, speak to a trusted medical professional.
- Recognize when you’re actually hungry, as this will ensure that you’re eating because you need to and not because of an emotional impulse. Your brain will learn to form the connection that food is good and should not be something that causes you shame.
- Distract yourself from eating by engaging in another task that brings you joy and fulfillment. For example, at our retirement community, we ensure that all our residents are thoroughly engaged in meaningful activities that help them holistically – mentally, socially and physically.
- Try meditating as this can help to calm you down and solve the problem at the root, by helping to address the negative feelings that you may be experiencing.
- Speaking to loved ones or finding a community, such as ours, where you know that you are loved and supported can boost your self-esteem and prevent you from engaging in emotional overeating.