But in the meantime, I spent some time on WebMD to see what characterizes emotional eating from real hunger. Sometimes I truly feel like I cannot tell the difference. According to WebMD you can distinguish emotional eating with the following characteristics:
How to Tell the Difference
There are several differences between emotional hunger and physical hunger, according to the University of Texas Counseling and Mental Health Center web site:
1. Emotional hunger comes on suddenly; physical hunger occurs gradually.
2. When you are eating to fill a void that isn't related to an empty stomach, you crave a specific food, such as pizza or ice cream, and only that food will meet your need. When you eat because you are actually hungry, you're open to options.
3. Emotional hunger feels like it needs to be satisfied instantly with the food you crave; physical hunger can wait.
4. Even when you are full, if you're eating to satisfy an emotional need, you're more likely to keep eating. When you're eating because you're hungry, you're more likely to stop when you're full.
5. Emotional eating can leave behind feelings of guilt; eating when you are physically hungry does not.
And a quote that hit home most for me was : " When emotional hunger rumbles, one of its distinguishing characteristics is that you're focused on a particular food, which is likely a comfort food." For me that is yummy, salt filled, crunchy, delicious snacks! (like Cheetos!)
I am seriously debating going 2 routes with this new self-discovery. A) seeking professional help by means of a therapist to work through this an some other issues OR B) really trying out some of the tasks and suggestions given in one or both of the books I spoke about earlier.
Has anyone else reading this ever struggled with emotional eating?
Information for this post was quoted directly from the Web MD website from THIS article.