Healthstyle Blog

Do You Eat More When You Are Happy or Sad?

Eating is the most challenging and complex aspect of any attempt to lose weight.

Simply put, the reason why most people gain weight is because they eat more than their body requires for fuel.

This simple reason becomes more difficult when you examine the reasons for overeating.

The reasons for overeating are as follows:

Deprivation – This is when you are on a restricted diet or in some cases not eating at all in order to lose weight. A restricted diet disconnects you from your body’s hunger signals. An external eating plan is followed with no regard for your unique hunger signals. The disconnection continues over a period of time, eventually the urge becomes unbearable (which is a natural process) and you end up eating more than you normally would because your body’s hunger signals are no longer in sync with your body. You end up eating more than before and gain more weight than before the diet.

Lack of awareness – A lot of people are unconscious eaters. They are out of touch with their bodies and are completely unaware of what their body needs.

Some Symptoms include:

  1. Eating whenever food is available.
  2. No attention is paid to the nutritional value
  3. You eat regardless of whether you are hungry or full

Too much deprivation and being disconnected leads to overeating. The solution is eating when your body requires fuel. You are probably wondering how will you know when your body needs fuel. You are probably thinking the solution might be to go to a dietician or nutritionist or some other experts to map out how many calories you will need to eat based on a scientific formula. That could be an option.

It is important to note that it is highly unlikely to customize a plan for your body even with sophisticated science because our bodies are so complex.

However I would like you to explore another option which is easier and costs far less. The true expert of how much your body needs is (drumroll please)…… You!!! Yes, You!

Your body has the infinite wisdom and is the hands-down true expert on how much fuel your body needs. Your body sends signals to let you know when you are hungry and when you are full. These signals are unique to you.

However the only way to make this successful is being aware and being connected to yourself.

If you pay attention to the signals you will eat only what your body needs. Our body sends us 2 different signals.

One for physical hunger and the other is an emotional sensation which a lot of people can view incorrectly as cue to eat.

I am going to give you some examples to help you recognize the 2 different signals.

Physical hunger signals

They start in the body and end in the brain.

  • When the stomach is empty it makes noises.
  • You may experience a headache when hungry.
  • You can feel tired or weak when hungry.

Emotional signals

The signals start in the brain (our thoughts) and send signals to the body.

  • Anger – I want to use food to get rid of my anger.
  • Stress – I enjoy a glass of red wine to calm my nerves.
  • Loneliness – I am comforted by warm, yummy food when alone.

We eat for both reasons (physical and emotional signals) which is okay, however it is important to understand the difference so that you can make an informed decision, especially if your goal is to lose weight.

Ultimately we want to eat when we have the physical sensation of hunger and use other non-food tools to cope with feelings.

I would really like to hear your comments on this? Are you in touch with your body’s signals? Are you finding it difficult to differentiate the two? Is your goal to lose weight and you have been unable to maintain your ideal weight? Post your comments or send me an email at



Leave a Reply