WE NO LONGER EAT TO FUEL THE BODY:
The days of eating for survival have gone, and food has taken on a whole new meaning. We’re in the comfort food age. We turn to food for comfort in response to emotional triggers, with complete disregard to actual hunger.
WHAT IS AN EMOTIONAL EATER:
If you come home at the end of a stressful day and the first thing you do is open up the junk cupboard and start mindlessly munching on crisps and dip then you my friend are an emotional eater. Most likely, you can’t help it. We emotionally eat out of habit, sometimes without even realising we’re doing it. We instinctively respond to stressors by reaching for the snack cupboard. We’re aware that it’s not rational or ideal to be shovelling in junk just because our emotions are swinging, but it feels like we can’t stop doesn’t it and then the whole feeling of guilt will sink in, thats the moment you say to yourself “I've opened them so I might swell carry on” NO, don’t carry on.
MOST OF US ARE GUILTY:
Emotional eating is common. In fact, it’s very common, And it’s not surprising - we’re primed for emotional eating from a very young age when our parents give us a lollipop for behaving well or an ice cream cone for getting a good grade in school. As adults, we mimic the habit of rewarding ourselves with food, whether it’s in response to something positive or negative.
When turning to food for comfort we generally choose high-fat, high sugar junk food which give us brief hit of pleasure.
Instead of addressing emotions, which at times are unpleasant, we get the short-term relief and happiness that food brings. But that’s exactly the problem. It’s short term and 9/10 we do regret it.
5 WAYS TO STOP:
1 - Identify your triggers There are lots of potential triggers for emotional eating. Some of the most common triggers include feeling lonely, anxious, tired or even just bored. Take some time to identify the different emotions that are causing you to reach for food and address them, I personally like a list, so grab a pen and paper, write down what they are and how you are going to use them in your favour.
2 - Find alternatives Once you've got the list and identified the potential triggers of your emotional eating, you can come up with strategies to help avoid these situations in the future.
If you're feeling bored or lonely, try calling a friend or family member to catch-up. Sometimes just being in a social environment can help too.
If you're feeling exhausted, and it's late at night, Just go to bed!
If you're feeling anxious or nervous, try going for a walk, run or lifting weights.
And a personal favourite of mine…..DRINK WATER!
3 - Only eat when you’re hungry A lot of us have forgotten how to recognise and interpret the hunger signals that our bodies send us. Yes, it’s much easier said than done. But before you open your fridge door, ask yourself why you’re reaching for food.
Is your stomach grumbling, or is there something else driving you? Stop for a moment and make yourself conscious of your motivation.
Are you craving a specific food or would you eat a plate of broccoli and brussel sprouts you're that hungry.
4 - Avoid temptations You’re more likely to make bad food choices if you have tempting and unhealthy foods in your kitchen cupboards, that’s a well known fact, I often tell new clients to Maximum Fitness to bin bag all junk food up and get rid, if its not visible its not edible. Rather than deprive yourself of snacks altogether, try to save your favourite foods for special occasions and stick mostly to healthy snacks like fruit, vegetables and protein-rich options.
5 - Accountability you're much less likely to give in to cravings if you need to write it in your food diary, this is something that is really important to this whole process as it will help you build up an immune system to the bad choices you once made.
Hope you have enjoyed the read and feel free to send me any questions via my contact page if you wish too.