Is Food Your Comfort?
Emotional eating can happen to some individuals who turn to food in response to a wide variety of emotions – sadness, stress, anxiety, anger, boredom, loneliness and even happiness!
Emotional eating usually manifests as:
- Binge eating
- Night eating
- Unnecessary snacking
- Constant grazing
What causes emotional eating?
One of the reasons for emotional eating is that we often self-medicate. Emotional eaters usually cry out for foods high in sugar and we very well know that increased consumption of carbohydrates can bring about increased production of the aminoacid TRYPTOPHAN. This ultimately leads to the heightened synthesis of SEROTONIN (often known as the ‘happy chemical’) which can result in IMPROVED MOOD!
So the next time you sit down to have a biscuit with your coffee, a bar of chocolate in the evening or a handful of lollies from the office bench, ask yourself: Am I really hungry or am I simply seeking fulfilment or a boost of happiness?
When trying to lose weight for improved health, you must make sure you’re adequately meeting your emotional needs in ways that don't involve food (or alcohol). Whilst occasional soul food is wonderful and A-OK, many women have spent a lifetime using food or alcohol to nourish themselves and soothe core issues of emotional deprivation. Then when they then embark on a health transformation and remove the things they've been relying on, they find themselves feeling lost and emotionally deprived.
How to overcome emotional eating
When you turn to food to appease emotional deprivation, this can result in rebound binge eating in an attempt to restore homeostasis. To prevent this from happening, you need to take a HOLISTIC approach to achieve your happiest and healthiest weight. This means not only focusing on avoiding harmful foods but also reconnecting with or finding your passions. Ask yourself: What do I love to do? What truly feeds my soul?
I would also encourage you to implement stress management and self-love practices every single day. These might include a morning mantra, a gentle yoga practice, meditation, nightly gratitude journaling, time in nature, breathing exercises, a bath with essential oils or being creative with art or music.
I want to finish by saying that eating to excite your senses rather than to fuel your physical body is OK! Even eating to comfort a broken heart or stressed mind is fine once in a while. However, food should never be our primary coping mechanism.
Check out our other article on mindful eating to reduce your chances of binge eating. You’ll also find valuable tips that can help you with weight loss and feeling good all over.