Hungry lately and eating too much? What is driving eating? I know I am. I am trying to self soothe with food. It isn’t working!
Done well self soothing is a fabulous form of self care. But soothing with food and gaining weight is not fabulous it is frustrating. Do I really need all this food and flavor for comfort and security? Food is a habitual tool to soothe for me. Fullness is a feeling I am comfortable with and I have often used it to block other feelings.
Most people don’t think about hunger and fullness as an emotional feelings, but rather physical sensations. I do. Because I know hunger and fullness as I know happy or sad. In confusion or long practice I identify boredom, fear, sadness and anxiety as hunger. Emotional Hunger is easy to feel, because it is easy to fix with fullness. But the food fix doesn’t last past the last bite!
Physical hunger is healthy hunger. The body communicates its need for nourishment with physical hunger and thirst.
Sources of Physical Hunger
- We all Need Energy! The body needs calories to maintain homeostasis, body temperature, rebuild cells and move.
- Our body needs nutrients. Your body needs specific nutrients for maintenance and repair. For example with chronic illness or Lyme disease you may need extra antioxidants, amino acids and healthy fats to help deal with infection and inflammation. Your body signals hunger because you are not giving it all the things it needs.
- Our Body needs water. Remember to drink enough. Water is what we are designed to drink. It is easy to miss thirst and try to fix it with food, but that confuses the body. Our brains aren’t good at drinking our calories. Brains don’t count liquid calories effectively as part of our over all caloric requirements. So stick with water or unsweetened drinks to satisfy thirst
Here are the key signs that your hunger is due to the need to maintain your body.
Signs of Physical Hunger
- Gradual Onset
- Nonspecific most often
- Low blood sugar
- Hollow Feeling
- Low Energy
Identify Emotional Hunger and Self Soothe to break free
Emotional Hunger – We are social emotional beings. Our mental and emotional bodies need a variety of inputs and connections to keep us happy and in balanced. We can easily confuse mental and emotional hunger for physical hunger. This happens especially when we are disconnected from our bodies. We can learn to separate physical and emotional hunger, feed the body and process and soothe emotions to quench emotional hunger and break free from emotional eating. Here is a link on emotional eating, if you want to dive in deeper.
Sources of Emotional Hunger
- Bored and hungry for stimulation.
- Lonely and hungry for the comfort of the familiar.
- Fear & Anxiety
Signs of Emotional Hunger
- Sudden Onset
- Food Specific
- Cravings that nag, never abate, and cycle, a whole that never fills in a bottomless pit..
- You need to eat more and different to get a result. Almond butter, then Almond Butter with chocolate.
- Satiety feeling satisfied has nothing to do with stopping.
How do you change this pattern of behavior after it is established? Self Care and Self Soothe
- Step away from habitual eating and food patterns to get perspective.
- Do a cleanse
- 1 Day a week go veggie
- 1 or 2 days a week go liquid
- Hydrate your tissues.
- Lighten up and have fun with food. Add and try new nutrient dense foods for fun.
- Build Awareness, Anchor into awareness of what the food is satisfying. ID your eating habits. Do they support your health goals? It is critical that you invite and cultivate awareness of the eating drivers in your life. Unconscious eating is sneaky and can be very destructive.
- Stay in the moment. Work to id feelings when a craving strikes and antidote the feeling with a conversation or memory or action to address it.
- Learn to self soothe. Food is an unhealthy tool in this regard. Self Care is a skill. Care for yourself first. Begin to add love to your life that has nothing to do with food. Here are some tools to self soothe.
- Hug and Hold
- Self Massage
- Hot Bath or Shower
- Meditation & Prayer
- Soothing Smells
- Music or Sounds
- Restful Sleep
- Get out in Nature
- Go to a movie with a friend
50 Ways to self sooth without food is a source for more ideas.
Honor where you are and with awareness move to where you want to be. Self Care is one way a shovel to dig out of the rut of soothing with food and develop new healthier tools to care for yourself. You gotta know I am working this process to dig out. Grab onto the tools that work for you and dig along with me. Thoughts and ideas to help are always appreciated. What do you do when stuck in the rut of emotional eating?