Negative emotions influence emotional eating. You might feel that eating chocolate will help you cope with your stress. Now you grab that chocolate to escape from stress every time and that’s how you end up being entangled in an emotional eating cycle. Emotional eating is triggered by stress, anxiety, anger, and depression. Food triggers a feeling of comfort, satisfaction, and love which emotional eaters use as a weapon to fight their emotions.
A high percentage of emotional eaters are teenagers, as they constantly feel under pressure and isolated from their parents. Studies have also reported that eating behaviors formed during childhood and adolescent years are harder to change during adulthood. Guilt, low self-esteem, and nausea follow episodes of emotional eating. Overeating leads to obesity and related diseases. Therefore, it is important to identify emotional eating early and overcome it.
Here are some ways to overcome emotional eating.
1: Identify the emotions: Some emotional eaters can not differentiate between actual hunger and emotion-led eating. Identify the cause of emotional eating. Common triggers are boredom, stress, anxiety, work pressure, sadness, and isolation. Before you give in to your cravings try to understand your cravings. Calm yourself and identify the emotions you are going through. Have a little self-talk. Ask yourself if food is the real solution to your issues.
2: Redirect your emotions: Once you understand what you are feeling, try to redirect your emotions. Let’s say you are stressed out, practice breathing exercises or meditation for 15 minutes. You will feel your cravings gone. Writing or sharing your emotions with a close one will also help control the feelings. Take a walk for 10 minutes to divert your mind from cravings.
3: Food is fuel: Emotional eaters harbor a negative view of food. They treat food as their best friend and rely on it to help them escape from their emotions. Food is a necessity. We require survival food. Food provides nutrition and helps in maintenance and growth. But excess of everything is bad. Overeating leads to several diseases. Therefore treat food as fuel not as a friend.
4: Mindful eating: Mindful eating focuses on the involvement of mind and body as we eat. It suggests evoking all five senses sight, smell, sound, touch, and taste while eating. This helps in reducing cravings and developing a better relationship with food. Chewing the food properly helps avoid overeating.
5: Stay conscious: Avoid any distractions while eating like watching T.V., mobile phones, and reading newspapers. Overeating is typically caused by distractions because you lose track of how much you are eating. Stay conscious of how much and what you are eating.
6: Do not skip meals: Skipping meals leads to more cravings and overeating. Try to have regular meals without a long interval between them.
7: Talk about your emotions: Sometimes all we need is someone to hear us out, without any judgments. Talk about your emotions with someone you are close to. Seek help when required. Don’t be ashamed to express. Talk with a health expert if required.
Positive changes in behavior and mindset help overcome the situation and strengthen the bond with food. It is important to create a supportive environment for them as they seek care and attention. If you are a parent, talk to your child about peer pressure, study, friends, and emotions. Look after their eating pattern and approach them wisely and carefully. Talk to Gytree Experts for the right guidance on dealing with emotional eating Seek help from a therapist or a dietitian to understand your emotions and overcome the issue.