I came across a statistic earlier this year that stated emotional eating is the number one eating disorder in America today. This couldn’t be more true, even though most professionals wouldn’t classify emotional eating as a diagnosable eating disorder, such as bulimia or anorexia is.
In my experience and in observing others, we all eat for emotional reasons. We might even say that all eating is emotionally driven at some level. Eating emotionally makes perfect sense. Food nourishes us, sustains us, energizes us and tantalizes our taste buds. Furthermore, in America, we have food at our fingertips 24/7/365.
Yet, most emotional overeating is done as if food were somehow scarce.
As someone who has overcome the negative aspects of emotional eating, been researching emotional eating and have written and taught courses on breaking free from emotional eating, I have come to define problematic emotional eating as this:
Emotional eating is any eating we do in order to elicit an emotional response and that is up and above what our body truly needs, wants or is asking for.
In other words, when we feel compelled to keep eating even after we are content or full, then something else is driving the desire to keep eating. Again, I’ve come to see most eating in our culture to have some emotional component to it, so the question then becomes to what degree is emotional eating a problem in our daily lives.
In other words, does Emotional eating disrupt, 1) our health, and 2) our lives? Saying yes to either of these questions indicates that emotional eating has become more of a monster than a joy. I say a joy because even emotional eating has a good side! The good side of emotional eating is the joyful aspect. It is enjoying every bite and enjoying the foods you love with gusto!
All in all, in my opinion, it is not a question of whether or not we are an emotional eater, but rather, to what degree. I have created an emotional eating quiz here: EMOTIONAL EATING QUIZ
Healing is within your heart’s reach,