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You have had a long stressful day at work with the boss screaming instructions at the top of his lungs, the traffic on your way back to home was extremely terrifying, and top this all, with the fatigue that has started to take you into its embrace and hums a gentle lullaby. Of course, you’d love to jump straight into bed when you get home. Instead, you head straight to the refrigerator. But hold on, before you pull out a bucket of ice cream, you need to know the common signs of emotional eating.

Life is a tough nut to crack and it simply loves to shove you in the midst of agony. And it’s just not you but lots of people who are down in the dumps without you even knowing it. But the overpowering feelings of loneliness, blues, and boredom ultimately lead you to the kitchen or to a drive-thru and the next thing you know is that you are finding comfort in snacks and food. This is precisely what is called emotional eating or stress eating.

The frequent episodes of a lonely or sad you on a couch, flicking through Netflix, mindlessly having bites from the warm pasta platter, and letting the negative thoughts engulf you in a sea of torture. This is the exact definition of emotional eating. But while emotional eating is defined, here are some common signs of emotional eating that you need to trace in your eating pattern to check if you are eating to satisfy your hunger or your emotions.

Your hunger attacks are sudden

Sudden pangs of hunger are often linked with stress eating. The onset of natural hunger often adopts a slow pace and comes gradually. The urge to eat is also limited, unlike a round of emotional eating when urgent satisfaction is mandatory.

You only need crave comfort food

When you are hungry or even too hungry, your stomach wouldn’t mind munching on anything. It would even go for healthy vegetables. But when your body is under the attack of a fit of stress eating, you only crave items such as ice cream, fast food, chocolate fudge cake, and related stuff that mostly falls in the unhealthy junk food category.

common signs of emotional eating

Your hunger is not located in the stomach

In the case of emotional eating, the feeling of hunger emanates from the mind and is typically linked with a ‘want’ for a specific food aroma, texture, and taste. This is one of the other common signs of emotional eating. In the other case, however, the hunger games start from the stomach.

It’s never fully satisfied

Emotional eating is never fully satisfied. In fact, it follows the motto that reads, ‘the more you eat, the more you want.’ You keep eating as long as the pouch in your belly can bear. Most of you won’t stop until you are uncomfortably stuffed. On the flip side, physical eating knows its boundaries. It never crosses its limits, as the tummy signals the brain when it is full and you stop then and there.

Often culminates in guilt or regret

Stress eating can lead to a lot of eating, which, of course, makes you feel guilty or ashamed of having eaten so much in the first place. Deep down, you also know that the food that you have just stuffed down in your body has very less nutritional value. Plus, the fear of weight gain is always nagging the back of your mind. Therefore, emotional eating brings you a horde of negative remorseful feelings.

When you are eating to the call of physical hunger, you end up eating healthy. You also know that you are just satisfying the needs of your body instead of the whirlpool of gloom-ridden thought bubbles. The saddest part of all is that the root emotion that caused all the trouble will remain untreated.