Why do humans eat? Of course, the biological answer is that we eat for survival as the food fuels the body. But, many times, we also eat to satisfy our cravings & mood. Renowned psychologist Susan Albers-Bowling, PsyD, said, “Many times people eat to feed their feelings — both happy and sad.”
This is what we call – emotional eating.
The biggest problem with emotional eating is that it often leads to overeating. Since even when the stomach is full, the mind is foggy and there is no will to stop.
In many cases, the emotional eating pattern develops from early childhood itself. Well-meaning parents often link comfort and soothing with food, Albers-Bowling explained. Psychologists explain that a cookie or ice cream that one received as a reward or pacifier, later turns into fond memories. So, when a person feels low or depressed, gravitating towards food is like going down the memories and patterns subconsciously. However, the urge to turn towards food is only temporary soothing.
There is a definite connection between mood and food. Stress, anger, fear, boredom, sadness and loneliness are some of the major emotions that induce overeating. This is not overeating but emotional eating.
This unnecessary binging can in fact worsen health problems. And if you are dieting or contemplating weight loss, this binging would certainly result in your regimen going out for a toss.
Ways to Reduce Emotional Eating Naturally
Healing is necessary to rejuvenate your soul as well. Try out these handy yet powerful ways to reduce emotional eating naturally.
1. Do Not Abandon Yourself
Self help is the biggest help you can ever receive. Resist this temptation of emotional eating even if you are feeling low.
Coax yourself that it’s okay to feel sad, mad, bad, tired or scared. Be kind to your feelings!
You’ll realize that by listening to your emotions, you are creating strategies to cope with it. A positive step indeed!
2. Enjoy Pleasure Moments
Learn to prioritize and make pleasure your foremost priority. Apart from scrumptious food, give yourself other medical and health therapies, talk therapy, spa or games.
This will keep your craving for food at bay and lift up your mood.
3. Eat Only If You Are Truly Hungry
A peculiar trait of emotional eaters is that they do not eat while hungry. This only aggravates their desire later on. So, the trick is to eat proper, real, health and nourishing foods whenever you experience physical hunger.
Experts explain that eating when you’re hungry will not only make you less inclined to binge, but it will also tell your body that it’s safe to lose weight.
Plan short, nutritious bites frequently.
4. Identify Your Triggers and Strategize Accordingly
Experts advise: “Discover your triggers and strategize.”
If you feel your entry into the kitchen or near fridge is linked to loneliness, rather than hunger, plan accordingly.
Call a friend or paint or write or take a quick bath – anything that you like and could do instead.
Awakening your conscience is the best way to deal with emotional eating. Create new ways every time to occupy and digress yourself from binging. Include these spells into “your schedule” to crush the desire for emotional eating.
5. Awaken Your Inner & Outer Beauty
The idea is to fall in love with yourself. A person who loves oneself will go all the way to not destroy himself/herself. Instead, will take good care of himself/herself.
Since binge eating is harmful, averting those momentary impulses is equivalent to taking good care of oneself.
As Dr. Gail Dines says, “If tomorrow, women woke up and decided they really liked their bodies, just think how many industries would go out of business.” This applies to men as well, since more men and celebrities are reportedly into depression or have committed suicide. Loving yourself deeply and brazenly is another way to prevent self destruction.
To Wrap Up…
Whatever, may be your reason and triggers, figure them out and plan accordingly for best results. Thinking long term is always beneficial to keep you distracted appropriately.
About the Guest Contributor
This article is presented by Sharda Hospital and intends to create awareness about mindful eating. Sharda Hospital is one of the largest super speciality hospitals in Delhi National Capital Region (NCR).