“Jamming” problems is one of the most common eating disorders, experts say. A person does not always realize that he overeats precisely on emotions. Why communication develops: upset – eat. How to distinguish hunger that develops due to emotional experiences from real, told psychologist, member of the Supreme Expert Council of the Department of Integrative Health Technologies of the Academy of Social Technologies Marina Chernikova.

Emotional, or, as it is also called, compulsive overeating, is understood as obsessive repeated behavior. Here, food becomes not a way to satisfy hunger, maintain the necessary physical condition, but an attempt to compensate for a certain deficit in the emotional sphere, says psychologist Chernikova.

If after eating a person is satisfied, calm and has the strength to do other things, then there is no question of problems with eating behavior. “It’s worth starting to sound the alarm if, after eating one product, there is a desire to eat another, and so on to the state of overeating and guilt developing against this background,” the specialist warns.

When changes in appearance become apparent, and the reflection in the mirror does not give pleasure, this is a signal that you are not eating right. And perhaps the violation of the diet is due to the fact that you are trying to make up for the lack of pleasure through food.

Where does this pattern of behavior come from?

A person turns to food when he experiences internal discontent or anxiety, Marina Chernikova notes. “The fact is that the very first satisfaction that a person meets is caused by food. As babies, we got primary pleasure from breastfeeding. Sweetish warm mother’s milk, passing through the esophagus, soothed the discomfort in the stomach and gave peace and pleasure. Therefore, of course, in difficult life situations or when a person simply cannot understand what is happening to him, the easiest thing to do is to turn to this archaic method, ”says the psychologist.

When can compulsive overeating occur?

The reasons for this, notes the psychologist Chernikova, can be many:

1. Anxiety, excruciating anxiety, stressful situations when something happens outside of our control. At the same time, food is always subject to control: a person can go to the kitchen, pour himself some tea, take a cookie or a cake, and then calmness seems to appear in life. Even if only for five minutes!

2. Situations when a person is captured by strong emotions, including negative ones: anger, irritation. And due to the fact that sometimes we are not able to correctly express these emotions or simply do not understand their nature, we are faced with an inability to define an emotion. In such cases, food is a way to balance or distract yourself.

3. Boredom or unwillingness to do unpleasant, routine work. Then a person begins to procrastinate (constantly delaying the completion of certain tasks), postponing the matter and calming himself down with food. In addition to calming, it also brings pleasant emotions.

4. Food as a consolation for hurt or loneliness. In such situations, regression to an earlier age can occur – a person turns into a child and begins to use what worked in childhood. For example, as a child, he was given candy or something tasty as a consolation, and he repeats this pattern in adulthood.

5. Feeling of separation with his mother, beloved grandmother, a close person associated with childhood, and consoling himself with the dishes that these people prepared for him in childhood.

6. Feeling helpless. Quite often, this feeling is difficult to deal with – the understanding that you cannot influence the situation in any way is very difficult to bear. Therefore, one wants to somehow regain control, and since food is available, a person begins to eat.

Overeating is an addiction

“Overeating is a type of addiction that has a similar mechanism, for example, with alcohol or drug addiction,” warns Marina Chernikova.

Such dependence can occur when, for example, it is difficult to deal with a life problem. For example, a young girl is not very satisfied with her appearance, she does not develop relationships with young people, she has psychological problems from childhood: low self-esteem, complexes. Instead of addressing these issues, she turns to food. “The logic is clear: building a relationship with a person is difficult, and food is always available! You can go and buy yourself something that will quickly give you pleasure, then food begins to replace other forms of relationships both with yourself and with others, ”notes Marina Chernikova.

Therefore, it is very important to understand in each specific situation: where did overeating come from and how severe is it. It happens that many of us in one situation or another resort to food as a means of calming down, but this does not become a pathology. If you notice that your body is changing, excess weight appears, skin deteriorates, there is a constant feeling of guilt or dissatisfaction with the appearance and what is happening to you, you should pay attention to the problem and consult a specialist, the psychologist advises.

Symptoms of emotional eating

It is possible to distinguish hunger against the background of emotions from the real one by a number of symptoms. So, this may be indicated by the fact that you want to eat a certain product, for example, a sausage sandwich and only it, and not any food. After all, when a person is really hungry, he doesn’t care what he eats, as long as he gets enough.

It is also worth looking at the choice of products. With real hunger, they eat soups, cereals, and meat. With emotional hunger, you want more sweet, fast carbohydrates.

What to do with it?

First, think about what you like and enjoy besides food, advises Marina Chernikova. Perhaps you like to chat with friends, but the reason for meetings is not communication, but food. Lunch with partners, coffee breaks with colleagues, meeting with a friend after work – it turns out that any communication is equal to eating together and maintaining social ties.

“By the way, smokers get into a similar situation, they continue to adhere to this addiction, just to maintain social activity. Only one thing can be recommended here – take care of another type of leisure. For example, go for a walk with a friend or visit the gym, cinema, and not sit in a cafe. In other words, find a different way to communicate, enjoy this communication and not eat at the same time, ”the psychologist notes.

Secondly, look at your day: how the regime is built, what time you eat and how regularly you do it. Shifts in the schedule, the lack of “windows” in it for a full meal, constant snacking and chewing are dangerous. You need to add movement to your life – for example, the port, walking with your beloved pet, communicating with children, watching movies, playing music, dancing – everything that you like and gives you joy. So enjoying life will be more rewarding.

Thirdly, keeping a food diary and a diary of emotions will help to cope with an obsessive appetite. Many people know about the first – you just need to write down everything eaten during the day. Tracking the volume of portions and the frequency of meals allows you to regain control, notes Marina Chernikova

An emotional diary helps you notice what is happening to you from an emotional point of view, what mood and emotions you most often experience during the day. Having dealt with emotions, you can deal with the situation and thoughts and begin to solve the problem of emotional overeating.

“Of course, I would recommend doing this work with a specialist – a psychotherapist who will help you understand what and what emotions you lack, as well as what causes negative emotions, dissatisfaction with yourself and life. It’s harder than going to the fridge. But it’s worth it, only in this way you can truly change your life, ”summarizes Marina Chernikova.