Are You Hungry For Something More Than Food?

We use food for stress relief, and as a source of comfort and solace. But no matter how much you eat, it won’t bring more love, nurturing or acceptance into your life.

The more stress we feel, the more the felt need for a reward or a distraction in order to feel good – a way of telling ourselves we are good or we are deserving.

These patterns can begin in childhood when we are encouraged to eat so we can grow up to be big and strong. We eat for a variety of reasons, including pleasing our parents.

[note]The more trapped you feel in your current circumstances, the more likely you are to engage in stress-related eating.[/note]

But what is our motivation now? Is there something lacking that we are trying to fill? Or some feelings that we are trying to soothe?

We use food as a substitute for nourishment and pleasure, anything to fill in where we may feel lacking.

[note] The real hunger is for unconditional acceptance, a hunger that food can never meet. [/note]

If you have stress at work, or you work in a boring, repetitive job, you are a perfect candidate for stress eating. The urge for continuous stress related eating can stave off boredom and provide temporary stress relief. Trips to the vending machine are a temporary respite from difficult or monotonous tasks.

Work stress is often chronic stress and subject to stress eating. This kind of mechanical eating is never satisfying – it’s an escape.

[note]You can never get enough of what you don’t need.[/note]

To ward off stress eating, try to find fulfillment in other areas of your life. Get out of relationships or jobs that are stressful if you can, and add more fun to your life. Build stress resilience and find other ways to combat boredom.

We all have losses and feelings of emptiness to manage (lost or failed relationships, unfilled promises, unmet expectations). Rather than making a desperate attempt to fill them with food, why not work on them directly?

While the pleasure of eating is a great gift, it’s not the only joy in life! Play and laughter go a lot further than donuts any day!

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Psychologist, Master Certified Coach and Certified EFT Practitioner. She is one of the world’s leading experts in using Emotional Freedom Techniques to help people lose weight without dieting, stop binge eating, and reduce anxiety and stress. She is the author of 4 Books on Emotional Freedom Techniques, the EFT Tips Newsletter, the Binge Eating Teleseminar and the EFT Weight Loss CD. Carol has a thriving coaching practice and is passionate about helping others succeed.

4 thoughts on “Are You Hungry For Something More Than Food?

  1. Carol,

    You are so right, stress is the tempting devil of overeating! I liked your suggestions very much. I think working on what’s causing me stress, instead of the quick fix, is a much better option than stuffing my face and then feeling horribly guilty:~)

    Since I have such a demanding sweet tooth, I try to make sure I don’t have the giant candy bar anywhere near me. Instead, since it’s summer I use melons as they really fill me up and are low fat.

  2. As soon as I started to read this article tears welled up in my eyes and I got a big lump in my throat. I have a big problem with food and have always felt that I had to eat everything on my plate to please my mother. Now I am 42 and my mother is gone but I am still cleaning my plate long after I am hungry. Maybe I am looking for acceptance and approval? Thanks for this insightful article.

  3. Sara – fruit is a great substitute, and far healthier. Once you get used to reaching for it, then you can actually start to prefer it.

    Louise – thanks for your comments. What an insightful revelation! Perhaps you don’t need to continue to clean your plate! Keep me informed on how you are doing . . .

  4. Hi Carol, the way I’ve designed my life after all these years and life lessons is to have as little stress as possible. I know that may sound funny in this day and age to not have much stress (other than a little stage nerves now and then) but I’ve been thourgh a lot of stress in my younger years and now avoid it like the plague.

    Way back when I was not happy, in my first marriage, I was heavier and a stress-eater. And I certainly do recall feeling trapped.

    Yes, work on the stressors, as yo point out here. And if your spouse is a louse – get rid of him or her. 🙂

    P.S. So great to see you over at Funsterland. Come back anytime!

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