Anxiety and Eating. Is it Normal?

The logistics and the significance of emotional hunger

A girl chewing her pencil while looking at the computer because she is stressed

When we talk about the weight loss battle, one of the main obstacles pointed out by people is the famous anxiety issue.

“I eat because I’m very anxious,” they say.

So when someone asked me last week, “isn’t it common to eat when I’m anxious?” that’s when I realized what that the biggest problem with this thinking was.

Take a second and think…

Have you ever had a pint of ice cream in one sitting, a whole pizza, a big chocolate bar (or all three in one) after a stressful day at work, a fight with your mother or after a breakup with a significant other? It’s all very common.

It is a highly predictable behavior, something even “expected” that happens around situations that generate strong feelings of anxiety or stress.

It’s very common … But, by no means is it normal.

A stack of fudge brownies

In other words, eating your emotions is common but it is not normal.

It is not normal to eat so much to the point of feeling ill — every day.

It is not normal to feel swollen and powerless all the time.

It’s not normal to think about food all the time.

It is not normal to blame yourself for eating certain foods.

It is not normal to be afraid of food.

Girl eating a slice of pizza

Redefining what “normal” means to you

A normal relationship with food does not include any of these behaviors.

Excessive focus on what you eat or do not eat, focusing on each little roll of your tummy, or on the number that the scale shows you every morning. All of this only distracts you from the things that are important for your growth as a human being.

It’s not all about your body size.

Being obsessed with food, feeling distressed at an all-inclusive buffet, feeling guilty when you eat birthday cake, having trouble socializing and going out for fear of getting fat, dreading gaining fat on trips or holidays are just a few examples of how you are not enjoying the most of your life.

And this has to stop being normal.

The real deal of eating our emotions

The real problem of eating due to anxiety, nervousness, boredom, is…

Will you feel better if you eat?

Yes. Momentarily, you will.

But overall, eating will not solve your problems.

These poorly digested emotions give rise to impulses for eating. These symptoms are signs for you.

Signs that something is not going well and it’s time to wake up. It is time to understand where all this anxiety, boredom, tiredness, etc. come from. Why are you feeling so overwhelmed? What in your life needs to improve urgently?

Girl meditating during sunrise

Moreover, these impulses are an invitation to transform your relationship with food to a point where you are able to enjoy a dinner out with your friends, have confidence in yourself to stop eating when you are satiated and wake up on the next morning feeling good and free of any guilt.

Believe me, this is normal.

The more you ignore this call for change, the stronger these impulses will come.

A group of friends having a dinner out and drinks

It’s important to assure you that I’m not discouraging you from using food as a source of pleasure. Eating is a wonderful thing and you must enjoy your food.

But using food as an anesthetic for difficult emotions will never be a good option. The only problem you solve with fork and knife is hunger.

And for the rest of them, we have to be more creative to solve those issues.

Accepting this invitation from your body is your choice. What do you choose?

You only have this one body and this one life.

Live it to the fullest!

I am a Brazilian girl (living in Sao Paulo with my fiancé — and another 20 million people). I love coffee, books, and good food. I also really enjoy studying and learning new things that allow me to further develop myself both professionally and personally. I have a degree in Food Science and hold a Ph.D. in Agri-food Marketing. In addition, I am a Certified Nutrition Coach and an enthusiastic Nutrition student.

There is a power that comes alive when women free themselves from the food prison in which they have learned to live, when they realize that they are capable and deserving of feeling fantastic in their own bodies, and that confidence is a state of mind — not a body lotion which you get the right to use when you reach a weight-loss goal.

My work is dedicated to nurturing, celebrating and sharing this message.

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