Eating because we are bored, stressed, angry, tired, or just simply craving something often has nothing to do with actually being hungry.
Most of these cases are linked to your emotions, and thus we refer to it as “emotional eating”.
What is Emotional eating?
Often you do not even realise you are busy with emotional eating, and when you do realise this, you don’t think it is much of a big deal. But the truth is that it can be a very slippery slope, with a dangerous end.
It is actually far more of a common problem than most people think, and with high-stress jobs and other lifestyle variables, it is becoming more of a problem every single day.
What can I do about Emotional eating?
When you do realise that you have a problem with emotional eating, it is important to try and minimise it as much as possible. This can be done by replacing this bad habit with healthy or neutral ones.
Replacement habits can take the form of exercise, reading, doing something with a friend (which doesn’t involve eating, of course), pursuing a hobby, or anything that you find keeps you busy and out of the fridge.
What are your triggers for emotional eating?
It is important to understand what causes you to undergo emotional eating, as triggers differ from one person to the next.
A great way to track this is by keeping a food journal. Use it to track what you eat and also what emotion you were feeling at the time that might have been the cause for your quick snack – or massive meal.
Emotional eating is seen as a type of coping mechanism, which can actually lead to certain chemical changes in the brain that causes emotional eating to become extremely pleasurable and addictive.
Although it might seem like a bit of a bold statement, emotional eating can easily be compared to recreational drugs, as it has the same process and trademarks. And as with recreational drugs, the high of eating an “emotional meal/snack” is followed by a low, which usually just starts the cycle all over again.
Some common triggers include:
- Losing a job
- A sudden financial crisis
Emotional eating can sometimes reach such a state where certain emotions cause cravings for certain foods.
How do I know if I’m an emotional eater?
Questions to ask yourself if you’re wondering whether you have a healthy relationship towards food:
- Do I eat because I’m hungry, or are my emotions talking to me more than they should?
- Do I overindulge on occasion or do I have a regular routine of binge eating?
- Am I a mindless eater or do I savour my food most of the time?
- Am I obsessed with food?
- Am I constantly monitoring what I eat?
So how do stop Emotional eating?
- Pay attention to your body’s signs of actual hunger, and don’t skip meals.
- Be mindful when eating. Pay attention to your meal – sit down in a comfortable place and enjoy it.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Encourage yourself.
- Don’t be too hard on yourself when you slip up.
- Face your problems and negative feelings, it may be hard, but it’s healthy.
- Use your support system – call a friend to talk through any problems you may be having.
- Write it all down – a food journal is your friend.
- Get out of the house, exercise, read a book, take a bath – be good to yourself!
In some cases, it may be beneficial to see a therapist or psychologist who specialises in emotional eating. Remember that seeking help is a sign of strength, not weakness.
Changing negative, self-defeating thoughts into more positive constructive thoughts is key.
Why not replace Emotional eating with something healthy instead?
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See what our customers say about our NEW Manna Low GI Shake
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