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Understanding Emotional Eating and How to Heal

Stress and negative emotions can quickly take a toll on a person when they don’t have a healthy way to cope. Emotional eating is a common way that people deal with anger, sadness, anxiety, and depression. This coping mechanism can come with many negative side effects, making it important to address the situation head-on.

What Is Emotional Eating?

Our emotional state can have a direct impact on many different areas of our lives, including our eating habits. Negative emotions like stress, anger, and sadness require healthy avenues to process. Unfortunately, many people will instead turn to unhealthy habits, like emotional eating.

According to Medline Plus, emotional eating has nothing to do with hunger. Instead, you will consume food in an effort to deal with difficult emotions. As a result, your body will take in a lot more calories than it needs or will use. This can often lead to long-term illness and further stress on the body and mind.

Causes of Emotional Eating

Eating as a means to cope with difficult emotions may seem pretty straightforward. However, there are certain causes and predispositions that can lead one to eat emotionally. Emotional eating affects both men and women who are unhappy with their bodies or have trouble managing their emotions. Strict dieters who deprive themselves of food may also turn to overeating as an outlet to vent frustration.

According to the Texas Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), emotional eating can be “triggered by stress, strong emotions or trauma.” Work and financial stress, health concerns, childhood habits, social influences, and relationship struggles can all be common root causes of emotional eating.

Dangers of Emotional Eating

Many people who emotionally eat will turn to comfort foods that are high in sugars, salts, and fats. These types of foods can lead to poor health when they’re consumed in large amounts, leading to a risk for obesity and other metabolic diseases.

According to Minerva Endocrinology, “uncontrollable stress” can change eating patterns, causing people to turn to “hyper-palatable” foods that are high in fat, sugar, and salt. Over time, these eating patterns could lead to changes in allostatic load or the ability of the body to cope with high-stress situations.

Consuming foods that are high in fat and sugar can even lead to food addiction. Minerva Endocrinology mentions that stress eating can “trigger neurobiological adaptations” that promote increasingly compulsive behavior.

Healthy Ways to Process Emotions

In order to heal patterns of stress eating, it’s important to learn how to process your emotions in a safe and healthy way. Medline Plus suggests paying attention to patterns and triggers that can lead to emotional eating. You may want to get a journal to keep track of your food intake and see if certain people or situations led to overconsumption.

Healthy coping skills can help you regain control over your eating patterns and process your emotions in a productive way. A good idea is to replace emotional eating with different activities, like working out, going for a bike ride, or taking a walk.

It’s also important for you to re-discover your own inner strength and confidence. Be gentle with yourself through the process of healing, and remember to celebrate every tiny victory along the way.

Disordered Eating Treatment at The Guest House

Here at The Guest House, we understand the complex relationship between disordered eating and stress. Our programs are designed to help you not only make healthy eating choices but also get to the root cause of the mental health conditions or trauma that led to overeating in the first place.

Each and every person comes to The Guest House with their own unique set of circumstances and needs. It’s crucial to have access to comprehensive and individualized care that will help you heal emotional eating in a healthy and productive way.

Mental Health and Trauma Treatment

Disordered eating is usually a side effect of deeper trauma or mental health conditions that have been unresolved. At The Guest House, you will find a wide range of care options and programs to help you get to the root cause of trauma, heal stress and anxiety, and let your worries fall away.

Talk therapy is an effective, traditional means of treatment that allows you to process your thoughts, feelings, and emotions in a supportive environment. At The Guest House, you will be partnered with a highly-trained therapist in individual sessions where you will create a plan of action that suits your needs best. In group therapy, you can find support and guidance from peers who share similar experiences.

Holistic Treatment

The Guest House is a trauma-specific care center that focuses on healing the mind, body, and soul together as one. Traditional therapies are complimented with holistic treatment to give you a full range of comprehensive care. Our beautiful 52-acre estate is the perfect environment for you to find solace as you re-discover yourself and the simple joys of living. Outdoor programs like equine and adventure therapy can help you learn how to process emotions through safe and exciting outlets.

We also offer therapeutic practices like meditation, yoga, and somatic healing to help you connect more deeply with your soul. These methods can help you move stuck trauma and stressful energy out of the body, allowing you to release negative emotions effectively. No matter your personal life experiences, there is truly something for everyone to discover at The Guest House.

Emotional eating is a type of disordered eating where individuals use food as a means to emotionally cope. There are many causes for this type of condition and many dangers if it’s not given the proper attention. At The Guest House, we understand the importance of healing the mind, body, and soul together as one. Our trauma-specific care programs will help you process your emotions in a safe and healthy way. You will also find comprehensive care that’s completely individualized to your own specific needs and goals. At The Guest House, you will find solace and support as you embark on your personal journey of healing. Call us today at (855) 483-7800.