Human beings are emotional and tend to consume food based on their feelings. If they are happy they will eat their favorite pizzas or burgers or if they are sad they will eat ice-cream or chocolate to lift their mood. Eating triggered by emotion and not hunger is often called emotional eating that can result in weight gain or inability to lose weight.
To stop the emotional eating it is important to know the cause triggering it. Common causes for emotional eating include -
Stress: Our lives have become demanding & stressful. Too many things to accomplish in short period of time leads to high stress levels. Chronic stress leads to high level of cortisol, hormone released in body in response of stress. This hormone triggers psychological cravings for salty, sweet and high fat content food that gives you instant energy and pleasure. More stress you take more prone you are for emotional eating. Being preoccupied during meal times can also promote eating mindlessly. To stop emotional eating it is important to manage your stress level.
Emotional: Sometimes people eat just to fill the void in their life due to boredom. For example eating a big packet of chips while watching a movie all alone. Eating just because you have nothing better to do is one of the leading causes of consuming more calories than you actually require that can lead to weight gain.
Socially influences: People tend to eat more when they are out on social activities like parties, office get together, weddings etc. Endless serving of tasty snacks with added distraction of social banter leads to mindless eating. People don’t pay attention to what they are eating & lose track of how much they have eaten all resulting in overeating.
It is important to stop emotional eating as eating unhealthy food may lead you to weight gain and can makes you more prone to the lifestyle diseases. Following are some easy rules to stop you from emotional eating:
Keep a mood and food diary: keeping a track of your mood and food it may help you in realizing your emotional eating habits. By knowing your trigger towards emotional eating it is much easy to eliminate it or replace it with some healthier options.
Comfort foods versus healthy foods: Emotion triggers craving for high carbohydrate foods. Eating them might make you feel better in a short term but will not help you get better control of your emotions. In fact opting for a healthier food like a fresh fruit will not only satisfy you but the specific nutrients will provide a steady source of energy that will get you through the day feeling focused, and balanced. Healthy foods help manage your emotions better and not suppress them.
Go for alternative methods: Food is not always the answer to your emotions. Instead try speaking to your friend, sibling or someone who makes you feel better when you feel emotionally low. You can even try a walk or a light jog in the park. Exercise naturally triggers happy hormones in the body, while helping you think clearer. If you are felling anxious, expend your nervous energy by dancing to your favorite song, squeezing a stress ball, or taking a brisk walk.If you are feeling exhausted, treat yourself with a hot cup of tea, take a bath, light some scented candles, or wrap yourself in a warm blanket. If you are feeling bored, read a good book, watch a comedy show, explore the outdoors, or turn to an activity you enjoy.
Follow a healthy lifestyle: A person who is physically strong, relaxed and well rested has better ability to balance the emotional see-saw in life. Make daily exercise a priority in your life. Physical activity helps balance mood, improve energy levels, and it’s also a powerful stress reducer. Get at least 7- 8 hours of sleep every night. When you don’t get the sleep you need, you are more prone to mood swings that can trigger eating mindlessly.
Leading a healthy lifestyle in general can help you get more control of your emotions. Eating a balanced diet & exercising at least thrice a week can help you be less stressed & more in control of your life.