Emotional eating is a term used to described a stress-induced response when one eat food to manage emotions.
When eating high glycemic carbohydrates like candy, bread, sweets treats and chips feel good neurotransmitters like serotonin are released. Serotonin is usually depleted when under pressure or severe stress. These high energy foods might improve your mood for a short period of time but will lead in the long haul to weight gain, obesity and risk for diabetes.
To achieve successful weight management it is necessary to overcome this tendency.
In severe cases this eating disorder should be treated with the guidance of a medical professional e.g. dietician or medical practitioner.
Do you show signs of Emotional Eating?
- Weight fluctuates constantly.
- Regularly participate in diets to loose weight quickly and gain again ( called yo yo dieting).
- Psychological cravings where emotions trigger a food response.
- Physiological cravings due to hormonal imbalances which influence mood, memory and energy.
- Habitual eating for example a sweet treat after dinner.
- Mindless snacking in front of the TV.
- Use food to focus when busy with a mentally challenging task e.g. Increased food intake with exams or deadlines.
- Rationalise food intake with reasoning for example; I will work it off or I will start again with my meal plan tomorrow…
Steps to overcome emotional eating:
Keep a journal of your food intake: It won’t be easy to overeat when you keep log of your total daily food intake.
Learn to rate the intensity of the craving. Do you feel hunger pains or do you actually feel full ?
Smile and cultivate a positive mindset: Conceive success and give birth to success. Life stressors might challenge you emotionally but can be overcome with acceptance and a gracious outlook.
Distinguish between an emotional or mental hunger: When emotionally challenged you might feel a heartfelt emotion like being sad, unhappy or lonely. Mental hunger can often be the result of being physical tired or being under stimulated (bored). Use self reflection (recognise ‘what’ you’re feeling) to overcome the craving. Use this emotional trigger to be able to deal with your emotion in a positive way, for example tell yourself I am upset because I feel frustrated with… You will deal with the emotion when you acknowledge it.
Take adequate action: Rest when you feel tired or take time out when low in energy. Read a book or learn a new skill when under stimulated.
Get REAL with yourself and the reason you overeat or snack mindlessly: Have a good look at your personal life, relationship issues, career and self-image.
Engage yourself with non-food activities to fill the void e.g take a relaxing bath, take a walk or enroll in an upliftment program.
At Fit4U we encourage you to lead a pro active lifestyle, taking responsibility and control of your habits, believes and thoughts.
We believe you can change your life and health for the better by incorporating the above fundamentals on a daily basis.