Finding Comfort in Food – Overcoming Emotional Eating

emotional eating comfort foodWhat happens if you crave comfort food during your Body by Vi challenge?  Well, cravings and comfort food usually means emotions are involved.

According to Jane Jakubczak, a registered dietitian at the University of Maryland, 75% of overeating is caused by emotions.


Ya, when you think about it, people associate eating to holidays, special occasions, anniversaries, birthdays, weddings, graduations, dates, you name it – it’s no wonder emotions trigger overeating.

The problem is that since our emotions actually drive the behaviour of eating, we may not even be hungry when our emotions are encouraging us to eat because we’re bored, or happy, or sad.

In the article “Emotional Eating: Feeding Your Feelings” from, part of the secret to overcoming emotional eating is to recognize when we’re actually hungry.

Here are 5 tips from the article to actually tell if it’s your emotions or you are actually hungry:

  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.Even when you are full, if you’re eating to satisfy an emotional need, you’re more likely to keep eating.
  4. 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.

You can read the rest of the article here.

Now here is what I suggest to my clients if they tell me they are feeling “hungry” during their Body by Vi challenge. – when you think you feel hunger, start by drinking a tall glass of water and waiting 15 minutes.  If you are still hungry, then go for a normal portion of something healthy first, like a Vi-Shape shake or lean protein and veggies.   Eat slowly and enjoy it.  Your hunger will pass.

If you still crave that comfort food, you know it must be emotionally-related.

Hey, it happens to everyone – don’t sweat it!  Just make a note of why you crave that specific food and move on.  Soon enough you’ll uncover a pattern and by then maybe you will have realized that a craving is fine – that even indulging in that craving is fine too!  But over-indulging is where we lose it!

Plus, don’t forget that it’s okay to have a cheat day once in a while too! – Satisfy your indulgence if you want on that day.  Just don’t overdo it.

The other day I had a craving for McDonalds (I know, I know).  Anyway, I bought their new burger to satisfy my indulgence and I have to tell you – I wasn’t satisfied at ALL!  I am sure it will be a long time before I have one of those again!

Enjoy your Body by Vi challenge!  One day at a time!

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