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When you are at your weakest point emotionally you tend to turn towards food for comfort. Consciously or unconsciously, when you’re facing a difficult problem, stress or just looking to keep yourself occupied you tend to binge on unhealthy food items, which is known as emotional eating. Emotional eaters are people whose minds repeatedly move their hands toward food even when they are not at all physically hungry. It is compulsive in nature and the emotional eater feels unable to control their eating desires. It may seem self?destructive but is always an attempt at self?help (managing mood swings with food). But emotional eating can sabotage your weight-loss efforts. Emotional eating often leads to eating too much, especially too much of high-calorie, sweet, fatty foods. But the good news is that if you’re prone to emotional eating, you can take steps to regain control of your eating habits and get back on track with your weight-loss goals.
Mood and Food: Connection
Emotional eating is considered as a major tool for effective handling and suppressing the impact of negative emotions like stress, anger, fear, boredom, sadness and loneliness on a human’s mind. The major factors which trigger the negative emotions and result in emotional eating are
3. Financial issues
5. Relationship conflicts
6. Work stress
8. Poor self-esteem
10. Fatigue etc.
The major connection between food and mood is that at the time if negative pressures it is the only thing that can make you happy instantly. In such situations, you tend to engage in binge eating even without enjoying the taste.
Food also serves as a distraction.
If you’re worried about an upcoming event or stewing over a conflict, for instance, you may focus on eating comfort food instead of dealing with the painful situation. Though unrealized, emotional eating makes a person happy only for a very small duration as after it, they have to actually face the problem and also bear the additional burden of guilt of setting back their weight-loss goal. Getting engaged in emotional eating is an unending cycle:
Negativity>> Overeating>> Workout regime goes off track>> Triggers negativity>> Overeating
Tips to handle Emotional eating
Identifying emotional eating triggers and bad eating habits is the first step – however, this alone is not sufficient to alter eating behavior. Usually by the time you have identified a pattern, eating in response to emotions or certain situations has become a habit. Now you have to break that habit.
Developing alternatives to eating is the second step. When you start to reach for food in response to an eating trigger, try one of the following activities instead.
a) Fight boredom – Instead of snacking when you’re not truly hungry, distract yourself by engaging in activities like – go for walk/jog, read a book, engage in household chores, etc.
b) Healthy munching – When you feel too tempted to have you favorite food look for their lower calorie versions. Along with this, choose a low-fat, low-calorie snack, such as fresh fruit, vegetables with low-fat dip or without butter popcorn to satisfy your temptations.
c) Get social– Lean on family and friends or consider joining a support group to fight your emotional eating habits in a more effective way.
d) Rely on reality checks– Before eating anything just re-question yourself that whether you are physically hungry or is it just a temptation. If you feel that you are not really hungry give than craving a little time to pass.
e) De-stress in a healthy manner– If stress is the main reason for your dependance on food look for healthier ways to manage stress like yoga, meditation, relaxing therapies, spas, etc.
f) Keep safe distance – If you feel that your emotions are out of control and you frequently face mood swings the best way to stay away from calories if to keep supplies of such comfort foods away from your home. Also, don’t forget to postpone your trips to grocery stores till the time your emotions are back in form!
g) Use calorie tracker – Track your calorie intake and stay strict to avoid going beyond your maximum calorie limits.
So, if you are also facing emotional eating disorders forgive yourself and start fresh now. Try to learn from the past experiences and make a plan for how you can prevent it in the future using these effective tips.
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