We all know that food provides nutrients, minerals and vitamins to our body. It also gives satisfaction, a sense of comfort and immense pleasure. Apart from being important for the body it is equally important for mental wellbeing of a person.
When food becomes the only way to overcome certain emotions and is unavoidable it causes more harm than good.
What is emotional eating
Finding comfort in food is called emotional eating and is more commonly found in women but common to both sexes. Emotional eating suppresses the negative thoughts and soothes the mood which means it feeds your emotions not your stomach. This leads to weight gain and health risks.
Emotions and food
Any sort of stress be it work, family, financial health etc can cause emotional eating. Such emotions make you feel weak and your stomach feels empty and needs to be filled with food.
Many of us think that emotional eating is a curse that cannot be controlled and it makes it impossible to lose weight and to add on it is one of the leading causes of weight gain.
How do you know if you are emotional eater
If you eat more under stress, eat even when you are not hungry, have a habit of eating till the stomach is completely stuffed and if you are the one who is more likely to surrender themselves to food then you are an emotional eater.
The cycle of emotional eating
If you are under stress then you feel an urge to eat. You tend to eat more than you should and what happens next is guilt and feeling powerless over food and this again makes you upset. This is how the cycle repeats and makes your weight loss journey a disaster.
With the repetition of this cycle it becomes really tough to maintain your weight. Learning the ways to deal with emotions and making an effort to avoid triggers will stop you from eating out of emotions.
Understand the difference between emotional hunger and real hunger
If you are able to differentiate between the two you will be able to make better food choices and will help you to discover the trigger for the choice of foods.
-Emotional hunger is sudden whereas physical hunger is a gradual process.
-Emotional hunger demands specific kinds of food especially junk foods to soothe the brain whereas real hunger can be satisfied with fruits and vegetables.
-Hunger out of emotions cannot be satisfied at once and the person needs more and more
How to tackle emotional eating
Look for some stress buster other than food. Activities such as listening to music, taking a walk etc can help you manage stress and also prevent eating out of stress.
-Keep moving is a good way to prevent stress, depression and anxiety.
-Meditation helps in managing eating disorders due to stress and depression.
-Maintaining a diary for what and when you eat can help you make out the trigger
-Consume a healthy diet that is full of nutrients and vitamins. And keep the unhealthy foods away so that you do not hit high calorie foods under stress.
-Get support from friends and families
-Fight your loneliness or boredom by engaging yourself in different activities
-Take healthy snacks or low-calorie foods to satisfy the craving
-Check your hunger if it is real or emotional. If you have had a meal a few hours before and you feel hungry again it is then an emotional hunger.
-Distract yourself by whatever means you think you can when you are under certain emotions.
Weight loss with emotional eating
If you can understand the emotions then it will be easy for you to bring changes in your dietary habits.
Weight loss plans help in creating diet plans tailored according to the need of an individual and along with it the emotions of a person is also looked after.
Emotions such as guilt, loneliness, stress, helplessness, disappointment, confusion etc are the common ones causing emotional eating.
All that have been discussed in the article are some of the ways through which you can control your emotional eating. Having tried all the methods to overcome emotional eating and yet not being able to cope up with it, you need to consult a healthcare professional to learn and understand more about emotional eating.