This post is part of a super important series on Emotional Eating. Not sure what that means? Emotional eating can be much more subtle than you realize, and if you’re having trouble figuring out your food issues, it may be at the root of them. If you’re a wellness professional (or are just trying to live your healthiest life!), you’ve GOT to understand emotional eating, as it’s likely at the root of many of your clients’ issues. Get informed, here!
Think about how you express emotions. Now think about your best friend. How about your brother?
Everyone feels, expresses, and acts on emotions differently. So it’s no wonder that there are also many different kinds of emotional eaters.
Understanding the different types is key if you’re trying to figure out your own habits (i.e. do you lunge for the ice cream when you’re giddy with joy or when you can’t stop crying?) or what’s triggering behaviors a client is trying to change.
Once you determine what the underlying emotions are that tend to drive emotional eating, it’ll be much easier to chart a path towards a solution.
Keep reading to see if you see yourself or a client in one of these five common types of emotional eaters.
5 Common Types of Emotional Eaters
1. The Celebratory Eater
She celebrates every happy occasion with food…and takes it too far. For her, there’s something to celebrate every day, and she doesn’t know any other way to mark a happy occasion. For some, just being in a good mood is enough to trigger emotional eating. They get that new-relationship high or the sun-is-shining smile, and they associate those good feelings with food.
2. The Sad Eater
She turns to food when things get tough and she needs to be cheered up. This could happen once in a blue moon in response to a major event like a death in the family or it could happen all the time due to lingering feelings of sadness or loneliness. This one probably makes you think of the most typical emotional eating example: devouring a pint of ice cream after a break-up.
3. The Angry Eater
Unless…said break-up inspires more anger than sadness. Angry eaters are often the people who easily get into fights with friends and family members. For the angry eater, rage may come as a quick burst of emotion or linger long-term, but either way, the thing that calms her down is generally…sugar.
4. The Unfulfilled Eater
Some people eat because they don’t feel fulfilled, in one or multiple areas of life. For example, maybe it’s a dead-end job or a relationship they feel stuck in or just a general sense of aimlessness. People who experience these emotions eat to fill a void. In order to stop, they need to find ways to feed themselves that don’t involve food.
5. The Stressed Eater
Ever scarf down a cupcake before a huge presentation or eat five slices of pizza instead of having a really hard conversation? The stressed eater is the type of person who feels overwhelmed under pressure and turns to food as a soothing antidote. She’s could be dealing with a ton of responsibility 24-7 or just going through a particularly difficult life event. The former is the one you’ve really got to worry about, since chronic stress eating gets tied up in everyday things (Emails! Bills! Getting the kids to school!) and can be harder to stop.
Think maybe you or your client is a totally different kind of emotional eater? There are so many more types out there!
To get the full details, check out our four-part video course on Emotional Eating, now!