By Sreejan Guha Niyogi Last Updated:
Have you just gone through a breakup and feel that potato chips and ice cream are your best friends? Did you grab a box of chocolates just because you are feeling lonely?
Often the strongest cravings for food creep in when you feel emotionally vulnerable. Consciously or unconsciously, you may give in to your cravings, indulging in luscious munchies. But when this rare occurring turns into a rooting habit, that is when you have a serious problem.
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Emotional eating causes weight gain problems, opens windows to other related disorders, provokes restlessness, restricts weight loss and often pushes one into depression. The good news is that you can get over your emotional food cravings.
Rather than dealing with our feelings and emotions, we search for a diversion and there comes in food, offering us an easy escape. This is emotional eating. It is the time when you eat without feeling physically hungry, just to satisfy some emotion within you.
Emotional hunger cannot be filled with food. Eating in such a situation just supresses your feelings and makes you feel good at that moment. The common triggers include- stress, unemployment, financial pressure, relationship conflicts, health issues, childhood habits, boredom, and loneliness.
The primary difference between emotional eating and physical hunger is: the former is activated by appetite, resulting from the cramping in stomach walls, and the latter is generated from discomfort in certain regions of the brain.
Though the difference is clearly distinguishable, often it leads to confusion, especially when sentiments and cravings are clouding your judgments. Learn the differences well and refrain from making the same mistakes.
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It is important to realise that you have the problem of emotional eating. Realise that your appetite is never satisfied even when you are full. Acceptance is the key to recovery, remember that!
The key step forward towards solving emotional eating is identifying your triggers and retracing their patterns. Maintain and update your emotional diary, filling up with details of your emotional status and its connection to food cravings. Once you reveal the root cause of your problem, you can march towards recovery.
Stop running away from your feelings and confront them in reality. Learn to accept who you are. If you are anxious, expend some of your nervous energy via vigorous physical movements that will calm you down. If you are exhausted, find amusement in alternate sources such as music or a good movie. If boredom or loneliness is your constant companion, try interacting with people instead of making friends with no-good fried foods.
Your will is the most important medicine behind any recovery. If you want to restore your system to normal functioning, say goodbye to junk food!
Pause when cravings hit. Take a few minutes to think whether you feel like eating because you are bored, lonely, stressed out or something else. Expand the intervals between trash eating if you cannot stop it altogether. Exhaust your supplies and do not refill.
To feed your emotional hunger sharks, look for healthier food options instead of blindly indulging in sugary and fatty foods. These options will keep your weight and health under a check. Keep your kitchen stocked with fresh fruits and vegetables. When hunger strikes, opt for a fruits, a salad or fresh fruit juice.
Apart from these, sleep well and follow a regular exercise regime to keep yourself fit and healthy. Exercising is a stress-buster and helps to elevate your mood. Realise your problem or those around you, and use these simple tips to overcome the problem of emotional eating.
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