Overcome Emotional Eating
Women can relate to this - Your swaying emotions and lowering energy levels by mid-afternoon tend to increase food craving. Emotional eating results in overeating, especially unhealthy junk food. Most often overeating starts with the mind. Don't eat to fuel your feelings.
Food provides temporary comfort to your emotions; Is it any wonder that many turn to food to mend emotional problems. Negative feelings like depression, stress, solitude, anxiety, anger, problematic relationships, annoyance, monotony can lead to overeating and later unnecessary weight gain. First identify the triggers that lead to emotional eating. Women are more prone to emotional eating. Emotional eating is a defense mechanism, understanding the disorder is very important and crucial. Only then can you gain control over it.
Identifying emotional eating disorder
- Physiological hunger comes about slowly but emotional hunger sets in suddenly.
- Emotional hunger does not follow regular food timings; you might feel hungry anytime and every time.
- Physiological hunger doesn't demand immediate fulfillment whereas emotional hunger seeks instantaneous fulfillment.
- When a person is hungry physiologically, she will not crave specific food whereas emotional hunger is usually satiated with foods rich in sugars and simple carbs.
Most emotional eaters overeat when they are depressed or confused; few others eat to stop thinking about their problems. Most emotional eaters prefer to eat high-fat and high-calorie food when they are stressed. Food that is sought is most often high in calorie, fat, sugar or salt.
There might be an addiction towards certain kinds of food like chocolate - eating chocolate releases a hormone that can elevate a person's mood; this will increase the craving for chocolate and the person will consume more chocolates when depressed. Food can also be a source of diversion to the emotional eater but this diversion is only temporary. This is so because while the food does divert the mind, your worries begin to haunt you yet again.
Common eating patterns
Do you recognize any of these habits? Are any of these common eating patterns for you?
- Skipping Breakfast
- Skipping meals
- Skipping breakfast and then picking up a doughnut mid morning
- Ordering out more than once a week as you are too tired to cook
- Eating on the go
- Eating when you are bored, sad or happy
- Making dinner the heaviest meal of your day
- Eating while watching TV
- Eating to stay awake
- Eating too much of a particular kind of food
- Taking stock of your eating patterns is the first step towards cultivating a healthier food schedule.
Conquer emotional eating
Use this checklist to identify your eating patterns to check for emotional binge eating.
Are you really hungry: Rate your hunger level and identify if you are really hungry. Eat only if you are really hungry.
Follow a food guide: A food guide can help you identify if you are eating right and if you are eating at the right time.
Exercise daily: Exercise can relieve stress and help you get out of an emotional struggle. The feel-good factor after a workout is better than a slump after overeating.
Sleep well: Insufficient sleep can increase hunger pangs.
Find healthy alternates: Stock up on healthy snacks for those occasional cravings.
- Eat slowly, chew well and stop eating the moment you feel full. Stop before you feel stuffed!
- Talk to a friend.
- Concentrate on your food Don't mindlessly eat and watch television. Eat only at the dining table as you tend to eat more if you feel cozy.
- Complete pending housework like gardening, ironing, etc. Indulge in an activity till the urge to eat settles down.
- Practice deep breathing exercises.
- Do not deprive yourself of your favorite food completely; instead eat it occasionally.
- Read a good book or magazine.
- Listen to music.
- Play a game of your choice; distract your thoughts away from food.
- Relaxation exercises/meditation.
- Seek counseling.