Are you one of those people who consume food to cope with emotions? It’s time you stopped!
The space between hunger & eating, where you make the choice you want to make, isn’t empty… it is filled with awareness. Stop trying to fill the emptiness inside you with food. Whatever your problem is, the answer is not in the fridge.
Emotional eating also known as stress eating is eating in response to one’s emotions. Using food to make one feel better than to satisfy physical hunger. It can affect all age groups, children, teens or adults. It could be triggered by an emotional response but mostly negative emotions like anger, boredom, change, depression, loss, stress are the main reasons for stress eating.
The true hunger gradually builds up and is a result of an empty stomach, unlike stress eating.
WHAT ARE THE SIGNS OF EMOTIONAL EATING?
- The hunger comes on quickly and feels urgent. It’s often triggered by a specific event on the mood.
- Craving a specific type of food. Emotional eaters crave more for sugar & carbs after a stressful day.
- Eating a bigger amount of food than usual.
- Eating at unusual times a day.
- Gaining excess weight in a short span of time.
- Feeling guilty after eating.
- Hiding empty containers of food.
Emotional eating is very unhealthy. The strongest food cravings hit you when you are to suppress your negative feelings you overeat, and it causes the additional burden of guilt, which actually worsens the already weakened emotional state.
Food also serves as a distraction in emotional eating. Your emotions guide you to your eating habits, that consciously or unconsciously you reach for a treat whenever you are stressed out.
THE PAUSE, EVEN SIMPLY A BREATH, TAKEN BETWEEN HUNGER & EATING, IS THE FIRST STEP TOWARD TAKING CONTROL
Whenever negative emotions threaten to trigger emotional eating, there are a few steps which will help you fight the cravings:
Accepting the fact that you are an emotional eater is the very first step towards controlling it.
- Maintain a food diary:
Write down what you eat and when you eat, and how are you feeling when you eat. Over time you will find a pattern that connects your emotions to your eating.
- Fight your leisure time or boredom with something healthy:
Instead of munching on snacks just to fight boredom indulge yourself in some healthy alternative. Take the bicycle out for around, take a walk, listen to music, read a book, play with your pets.
- Fight the stress:
Try yoga and meditation to beat the stress. Stress contributes to binge eating and later the guilt of overeating keeps you more stressed out.
- Give time for the craving to pass:
Drink a glass of water when you feel the urge to binge, do not give in to the hunger instantly.
- Remove the temptations from your sight:
Do not keep it hard to resist comfort food in your house.
- Do not starve:
Eat wholesome & healthy meals. Keeping yourself hungry for a long time increases the carvings and you end up binge eating. You can enjoy an occasional treat just to satisfy the palate.
- Snack healthy:
Keep fruits, vegetables, and nuts handy to munch on in between meals. Be positive and keep yourself motivated by exercising, eating healthy and appreciating your efforts.
“Don’t let your mind bully your body into believing it must carry the burden of its worries”
- Inputs by Preety Tyagi, Nutritionist and founder of MY22BMI