In this episode of Conversations with Smart People, I’m talking with Jessica Setnick, a Certified Eating Disorders Registered Dietitian, about emotional eating.
Jessica is the owner of Congruence Consulting and the author of The Eating Disorder Clinical Pocket Guide. She also teaches healthcare providers how to support those suffering with eating disorders through her Eating Disorders Boot Camp training.
Watch my interview with Jessica here.
What exactly is emotional eating?
As Jessica explains, the first thing to understand is that “we all have to eat, and we all have emotions.”
With a few exceptions, our basic nutritional needs don’t vary much from day to day, but our emotions can sure take us on wild rides. “Even the most well-balanced person has this roller coaster of emotions.” The problem is that when your food gets on the roller coaster with your emotions, your food choices don’t necessarily mirror your body’s physical needs.
“Instead of eating for fuel, we’re eating for emotional reasons,” says Setnick. And when our eating decisions are guided by our emotions, it can lead to dysfunctional eating.
So, when does emotional eating turn into dysfunctional eating? As Setnick explains, it’s a concern when it becomes destructive to your life. It’s one thing to overindulge in food occasionally, but when the behaviors become a pattern, or continue for long periods of time, it can indicate there are underlying emotional triggers at play.
But dysfunctional eating behaviors are not always something an outside person can see. There isn’t a checklist or quiz that can definitively tell you if your emotional eating has become destructive. That requires help from a professional who has specialized experience in this area.
Is emotional eating having a negative impact on your life? Find an emotional eating expert here: http://www.eddietitians.com/treatment-finder/.