Eating for Energy Not Emotion by guest expert Susie Garcia, RDN

Emotional EatingEmotional eating is something that many struggle with, where you feed your feelings rather than a hungry stomach. Today’s segment is part of a series by my guest expert Susie Garcia, who will unravel ways to deal with emotional eating and how to control it! Susie, over to you…

There are several different types of emotional eaters; anxious, depressed, bored, situational etc… When you eat for an emotional reason you are missing out on nourishing and energizing your body. This article will give you a few practical tips that you can implement right away to improve your energy through good nutrition.

I’ve identified 3 areas that many people will find emotional eating issues can impact them. Time, Tasks and Guilt; this article will discuss TIME.

TIME is an area that can cause an array of emotional eating behaviours to occur. I’m not talking about time management like meal planning (that’s related to Tasks). I’m talking about how much time you have between meals and snacks and how much time it takes you to eat a meal. Proper Meal Timing is something that has made such a difference for so many of my clients!

The emotional eating behaviours that are most affected by time include bored eating, depressed eating, anxious eating, peer pressure eating and situational eating.

First, let’s look at meal timing, which is how much time between your meals and snacks. In order to improve your energy levels and balance your hormones you should be eating every 4-6 hours. It is important to go at least 4 hours but not more than 6. Obviously there are exceptions; someone with hypoglycaemia will need to eat more often, or extremely athletic individuals tend to burn through calories rapidly and may need to nourish their body every 2-3 hours.

If you are a ‘grazer’ (which is common with a bored or depressed eater) and are constantly eating a little here and a little thereClock-e1391398965541 you are not giving your insulin levels a chance to re-group and stabilise and this can affect your other hormones. It also doesn’t give you and idea of when you are satisfied with a meal. You can graze for several hours and not really have a “meal” but then still feel like you need a “meal” to feel satisfied even though you’ve already had plenty of calories.

Another TIME component is “the 20 minute rule.” You may have heard this before – it takes your stomach 20 minutes to tell your brain that you are full. I’m sure we can all think of a time where we were very very hungry (because we went more than 6 hours between meals, for example) and without thinking ate 2 helpings of food in less than 20 minutes.

Fast eating is a habit. Many school teachers are fast eaters because they only have 17 or 22 minutes for lunch, or busy executives that gulp down food at their desk or on the go. So the “rule” is that before you get a second helping or order more food; wait at least 20 minutes and see if you really are still hungry. To illustrate how we all have had this happen think about the last time you were at a fast casual restaurant; their goal is to turn tables to get customers in and out. You sit down, and quickly a basket of bread appears in front of you; maybe you decide to get some type of ‘starter’ whether its an appetizer, salad or soup. Very often you’ll have your entrée delivered before you’re even done with your starter so you finish that and immediately start on your entrée and boom! You’re full! I encourage you to Linger; don’t let the server set the pace of your meal.

I’ve mentioned being satisfied or full in both of these time scenarios; grazing and the 20 minute rule. What can happen over several years of either of these habits is that your body has a distorted perception of what “satisfied” feels like.

Remember, when you are Eating for Energy you can set your emotions aside and think of Meal Timing and the 20 Minute Rule to help you break old habits.

susie-mail-headshotAbout the Author:  Susie Garcia is an award-winning Dietitian, author, speaker, media resource, and nutrition expert and offers Practical Healthy Solutions that fit into Your Lifestyle.  Receive a complimentary copy of her guide, 7 Simple Steps to a Healthier You:

To learn more about what type of Emotional Eater you might be get a copy of Susie’s book:  Psyched to be Skinny – How to Stop Emotional Eating, Enjoy Healthy Weight Loss and Keep it Off for Life!


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