5 Journaling Prompts To Understand Your Emotional Eating
These journaling prompts and the information featured in this post were first published in my ebook Nourishing Soulfully Gentle Journaling Prompts To Uncover Your Personal Answers - download your free copy here.
One of the most important acts of self care we can work on within personal development and growth is hunger signals and recognising emotional eating. As children we’re often told “eat just a spoonful more” or “just finish those vegetables there”, “no you can’t have another sandwich”, these are all very well meaning suggestions from people who love us and want to take care of us. However, at times these suggestions mean that we learn to ignore our own hunger signals. Our mind “learns” that they aren’t important, but they really truly are.
Emotional hunger can be trickier to recognise but once we know what it feels like, awareness becomes easier:
Emotional hunger is an instant hit of cakey pangs, or choccy pangs, or maccy D pangs... you get what I mean
It can often feel irrational
There is an air of urgency.
Physical hunger is a pretty simple one to recognise once you become aware:
It gradually gets stronger
It’s something that comes on slowly that we notice little by little.
People who eat intuitively are more likely to eat because they feel hungry due to body signals asking for physical nourishment rather than emotional reasons. This is down to being able to recognise the difference between physical hunger and emotional hunger. For this reason intuitive eaters are less likely to binge eat or continuously think about food. This skill is honed from eating regularly and being in tune with their body.
Take a moment to imagine this. Your driving along in your car on a long journey, you notice you have half a tank of petrol left, as you continue to drive along, the pin on the petrol gage slowly lowers, easing its way to the red ‘empty’ marker. You’re on the motorway, you can stop at regular points to refuel the car. You regularly notice the pin sliding towards the empty red bar. The car regularly BINGS and tells you that you need to refuel. Would you continue on without refuelling? No? So why do it to your body? We need to eat regularly to top that energy gage up.
Now, let’s pause for a moment, because I seem to be giving emotional eating a bit of a bad rep, when in fact emotional eating does have its place in our lives, and should be a part of our lives.
There are times when the only soothing, comforting thing we have access to is food. Why would you deprive yourself of feeling better if you feel that nothing else will help? You shouldn’t. You aren’t failing at nourishing your life soulfully by comfort eating. There is no failing in nourishing your life soulfully, end of. Often though, there are other remedies that will offer great comfort than the instant but short lasting soothing which food can offer.
What activities can offer a greater comfort than food for you?
Make a list, you might include things like talking to a loved one, a hug, walking, swimming, doing yoga, reading, watching Netflix, sudoku etc.
You may find it very useful to ask yourself some or all of the following questions when you next pinpoint emotional eating:
Have you eaten regularly today?
Have you recently restricted food?
(Not eating regularly or restricting food can often trigger emotional eating later on in the day. Our bodies go into survival mode and once we’re past a certain hunger level, we have no control over what we eat and how much of it we eat, we just want something that will offer us the maximum amount of energy in the quickest time possible. Our bodies haven’t evolved from the days where not eating was very very dangerous. We still enter survival mode. Yep, even if we can call Deliveroo and have something to eat on our doorstep in 10 mins flat.)
Why do you think you chose to take comfort in food?
What was the catalyst for comfort eating?
What needs in your life haven’t you been meeting lately? (Comfort, connection, closeness, self-care, joy, quiet time, alone time, breathing, breaks, fulfilment, love. Feel free to add to this)
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