Most of the times, stress leads to overeating and emotional eating becomes the major contributing factor in weight gain. I am sure most of us are worried about 'Lockdown weight gain'. Since the lockdown started, the untimely snacks and an increased portion of food seems to be the additional stressors.
Emotional eating makes a lot of sense when one is stressed, the physiological explanation about this is when you are stressed, there are chemical changes in your body and these rush of chemicals basically are useful to give flight or fight response.
During the COVID-19 situation, we are experiencing a threat to our safety (physical and otherwise) so the biological responses are the same. In this war against the virus, we are actually in freeze mode or pause mode. Staying safe at home can reduce the risk. Our biological responses are still flight and fight which means the body requires energy and thus the body demands more food.
Emotional Hunger Vs Physical Hunger
How will you recognize that the feeling of hunger you are experiencing the result of physical need or for emotional comfort?
1. Sudden Vs Gradual: Physical hunger is natural hunger and thus it is gradual, on the contrary, emotional huger arises suddenly. This is the simplest way to understand the difference between physical vs emotional hunger.
2. Specific Vs Simple: a person with physical hunger will eat anything simple day to day, habitual food. At this stage, the aim is to get rid of hunger. Whereas the eating eater will crave a specific food.
3. Mindless Vs Mindful: During the physical hunger you are actually eating mindfully, you are aware of the food, taste, quantity and you are also fully aware of the feeling of satisfaction you get post eating. During the emotional eating one is eating absent-mindedly not sware rather enjoy it. In emotional eating, you might finish the big portion of food well before you know it or you realize it.
Tips to Stop emotional eating
1. Grab a glass of water: When you sense hunger just drink a glass of water so you get 5 minutes to realize if it is physical or emotional hunger.
2. Healthy eating habits: Get rid of the stock of snacks with are sweet or salty food. Think about healthy options such as fruits.
3. Dealing with feelings: See how you are feeling if needed make the journal and talk to mental health professionals.
4. Distract yourself: Delay, drinking water, discuss are the well-known methods of Distracting yourself when you feel like eating.
5. Understand the pattern: List out the emotional triggers and soon you will realize that there is a pattern.
Remember EMOTIONS generates in the MIND and SPEAK through your BODY.