The Deeper Meaning of Emotional Eating

Why do we crave certain foods?

If you’ve started to understand a bit about the neuroscience of overeating, you’ll know that there’s a lot of emotion involved in the way we eat, and the foods we desire or crave.

Overeating is at its core, a psychosomatic condition.

In her work as a psychosomatic therapist, Pia Lindgren has come to realize that there’s a deeper meaning to our food cravings. Basically, overeating is a psychosomatic condition, or something physical caused, or made worse, by mental and emotional factors.

At BreakFree Eating, we know there’s a connection between the food we crave and deeper, often unmet, emotional needs and conditioning.

We’ve all heard the term “emotional eating”.

What does that mean? We eat to satisfy both our physical and our emotional needs. But so-called comfort foods are only a temporary fix. If we are to stop overeating and control cravings, we need to understand why we crave certain foods and try and understand the emotional hunger we’re really feeling.

It’s that emotional hunger that leads us to stuffing ourselves full of food. Pia now knows that this kind of hunger, this emotional hunger cannot ultimately be satisfied by food alone. We also need to understand and work on the emotions that are driving us to crave certain foods more and more.

Salty, fatty, sweet and milky food cravings

Our bodies are amazing, because they tell us when something is not right physically, emotionally and even spiritually. In fact, our bodies give us signals that we often just don’t understand. Food cravings are one of those signals.

After working with hundreds of clients applying the Voice Dialogue method of therapy, Pia has uncovered a pattern, or a common denominator that runs through physical food cravings and their deeper meaning.

She has applied this to her life-changing BreakFree Eating program and when she understood this common thread, she was able to help many different clients overcome their food cravings.

Food cravings are linked to deeper, underlying emotional needs. We all have them, but some of us can’t control them and it leads to excessive overeating, misery and poor health.

  • For now, until we get deeper into the BreakFree Eating program, we need to understand a bit about these 4 different food cravings:
  • Craving for salty food
  • Craving for sweet foods
  • Craving for fatty foods
  • Craving for milky foods.

Each of these food types is associated with a particular emotional need, which in many people can be satisfied with a small or moderate portion. But in others, they become a living nightmare because some of us have such a deep and unmet emotional need in a particular area, that we over-indulge, binge and allow the craving to get the better of us.

Basically we can’t control the particular craving and we go on to overeat and suffer all the consequences of an addiction.

So, let’s understand what each of these cravings is associated with and then get a glimpse of the emotion they may be trying to satisfy. We dive deeper into the meaning of cravings in the BreakFree Eating Program.

Craving for salty foods

Basically, salt is a mineral that binds things together.

When we crave salt and salty foods, it’s an indication that we don’t feel grounded. We are seeking stability in our environment and in our bodies. Our minds are scattered and deep inside we feel a bit out of control. We might be concerned about what is going to happen around us. It’s an indication we might be facing change or uncertainty, and the salt craving is a way of trying to feel more solid and stable. We are looking for that “binding agent”, something familiar and something we can hold on to.

Craving sweet things

Remember how we saw that sugar and sweet foods have always helped to trigger the feel-good hormone, dopamine? Sweet cravings mean that life is basically not sweet enough for us.

We want to sweeten things up. We, unconsciously, feel lonely or we want to escape the pain of living …of not being loved, or feeling disappointed and sad. Eating lots of sweet things is an attempt to get that feeling of comfort and love.

Cravings fatty foods

Craving fatty food is a signal that we feel dis-empowered. Our self-esteem is low and we might have low self-worth. We don’t know who we really are and we are trying desperately to find our authentic self …our essence.

If we don’t have a strong sense of self-worth, we will always search outside ourselves – in partners, money, jobs, pursuits or hobbies. And that deep underlying and unmet need to feel worthwhile sometime manifests itself in craving fatty food – often with devastating consequences.

Craving milky foods

When we crave milky foods like ice cream, it’s often because we are feeling very sensitive. We don’t know how to process our emotions. We are easily hurt, we feel sad or nervous and deep down – the world seems a harsh and scary place.

We just want to be safe, feel nourished and nurtured. Often it means we just don’t want to grow up. We want others to save us. In the BreakFree Eating program we explore these emotions and how they play out into our food choices more fully.

Are you ready to take The Weight Saboteur Quiz and see how sensitive or addicted to these foods you might be? 

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