6 tips to avoid emotional eating
Emotional Eating – The causes, the confusion and 6 tips to avoid emotional eating
Nobody ever wants to admit that they may be struggling with being an emotional eater, and that is okay. There is a sense of shame that we might associate with emotional eating. This can stem from our childhood, or other past experiences.
Emotional eating is nothing that we should be ashamed of. In fact, using food is a pretty normal coping mechanism to comfort us during times of uncomfortable emotions and stressors. When we feel negative emotions, we can feel a sense of emptiness and worthlessness, and food is essentially known to help us feel more complete inside.
Food is what people commonly turn to when they are feeling down or stressed. It provides us a sense of comfort and security. It is something that we can easily control. It also releases chemicals and hormones in the body that can make us feel happy.
“Emotional eating affects everyone” – Emily McNeil
Many people are at war with their bodies. These people often place a big focus on their body’s, they are not satisfied with how their body looks and as a result, they are more likely to engage in emotional eating. These feelings of low self-worth make someone reach out to food in the hope that it will make them feel better.
Are you someone that is stressed often? Stress can also increase your likelihood of engaging in emotional eating. When we are stressed it can be really difficult to make the best decisions. We tend to make impulse decisions when it comes to food and what we eat, so how can we expect ourselves to make nutritious choices when it comes to the food we put in our mouths.
In addition to not being able to make good choices, when we become stressed, our body’s levels of cortisol change. These changes in cortisol trigger an increase in appetite and if often becomes incredibly difficult to resist eating more than we need.
Looking more broadly, dieting can often be confused with emotional eating. This is because dieting often leads to binge eating and seeking out high-energy foods and in greater volumes. Also, restricting food intake, which is a common theme across diets causes a preoccupation with food where the act of restricting causes an intense desire to eat. This has been shown to trigger the “Last Supper Effect” – where you want to eat as much as you possibly can and all at once. Even in the act of trying to suppress these thoughts about food, they become greater and greater in our minds and we ultimately end up consuming large amounts of food.
And when we don’t succeed here and be continuously break the diet, we feel down and upset with ourselves, and it can be a never-ending cycle.
5 tips to avoid emotional eating:
- Understand the difference between physical hunger and emotional hunger
- Practice tuning in and recognizing when you’re starting to feel hungry
- Avoid fad diets
- Aim to eat regularly throughout the day so you’re not in that all or nothing mindset when you get home from work
- Check-in and see whether you are eating enough – aim to consume 3 main meals and 2 snacks to keep you satisfied between main meals and keep those food cravings at bay
Get Going can work with you to design a Nutrition Plan around your lifestyle. Contact us to discuss with our team of nutritionists.