When we talk about emotional eating, it is in no way related to satisfying a hungry tummy but it is more related to comforting your emotional needs or stress. Food craving and urge for eating is a powerless emotional feeling that may work temporary but would worsen your situation over long run. Think of a time, when you are feeling down or stressed. You may be craving for a desert even if you are full to reward your depressed mood. This is called emotional eating. Many of you may be running towards your fridge, when you face a feeling of anger, depression, boredom or related emotions. This results in unhealthy and unnecessary consumption of calories. Emotional eating is harder to control when this problem is not identified or when you don’t know how to solve the problem. With time you tend to lose power on your emotions as well as eating habits and choices.
What is Mindful Eating?
Mindful eating is awareness about your eating habits. A mindful eating habit is developed as you learn to have whole control over you eating behaviors. You are more watchful about triggers and emotions and can control your resulting actions.
Understanding Emotional Eating and its Triggers:
Many of us usually mistake emotional eating for physical hunger. However when you have a close look, you will be able to feel a clear difference. Some factors to think about include:
- Emotional eating is related to an instant feeling that arises as a result on any feeling.
- It would usually urge you to eat something high calorie fattening food or a tempting dessert such as an ice-cream, burger, French fries etc.
- Even after eating a whole lot of food, you would not feel better. This is because emotional eating is not about satisfying an empty stomach. Even if you have completely stuffed yourself, you will still be feeling same.
- You may end up feeling guilty or would regret eating emotionally. This usually happens when the damage is already made and you will then realize that you have eaten only out of urge and not a healthy nutrients filled diet for your body.
Triggers: Some common triggers that lead to emotional eating include:
- Feeling down
- Stuffing your emotions
- Indulging treats/food
Give Up Emotional Eating:
Once you understand emotional eating and is well aware of what triggers this method of dealing with your emotions, you can now work on ways that can help you control and give up emotional eating completely. Emotional eating is all about emotions and once you learn to identify and control your emotions, you will be able to offer logical choices.
Ways: You must know that eating is not the only solution for dealing with your emotions, there are other ways that would not involve food. Emotional eating habits can be overcome by finding out other ways to fulfill your emotional needs. Some successful ways include:
- Be with someone who could make you feel better. This could be your friend, your pet, your kids or any other person.
- Play some relaxing music or if you are fond of dancing; hit your floor with your favorite dance number.
- Take a light shower/bath to squeeze out emotional distress.
- Take a relaxing small nap.
- Have a cup of tea to soothe your mind.
- Go for a walk or explore nature outdoors.
- Watch a comedy TV show.
- Read your favorite book.
- Play an instrument.
- Do any other activity that you enjoy most.
Switch to Mindful Eating:
A mindful eating cycle revolves around
- Know your eating habits,
- Know your emotions,
- Know triggers and
- Know your actions.
- As you feel an emotional urge of eating, stop immediately and think about it.
- Have the willpower to resist that emotional hunger.
- Follow one of the ways that we have mentioned above to avoid emotional eating.
- Be aware of what you are eating. For that you need to pay close attention to what you buy and prepare for eating?
- Make choice of food that you can enjoy and at the same time it should be nourishing and healthy.
- Before filling in your grocery cart, make sure you have a list to follow. Your shopping list is your key to health and it should include healthy items. Following your grocery list would keep you from impulsive buying.
- Remember that food is to fill not to enjoy. Reach dinner table with a need to eat. You don’t need to starve yourself but if you take proper healthy food at your meal times, you would not feel greedily hungry at any time to eat anything.
- Have a limited plate size and eat small portions.
- Take small bites and chew well. Not only you will be able to feel and taste food completely but it will is a healthy habit too for your metabolism.
- Appreciate food and eat slowly. You don’t have to finish it quick. Your meal time should be relaxing and slow.
You would either be eating mindfully or emotionally. Following both scenarios is not possible. So if you are really concerned about your health, you should be well aware and pay close attention to your eating habits. You don’t need to break out your emotions over food and eat everything mindlessly to suppress your emotions. It would only prove destructive and the end result would be more depressing. Keep a track of your diet and avoid overeating. Keep track of each bite that you are consuming and as you begin to watch your eating habits, mindful eating will become your behavior.