This phenomenon of eating under emotional stress is known as “Emotional Eating Syndrome” or simply put “Eating Disorder”. In this blog, I will cover 10 Easy Hacks to Control Emotional Eating!
The lockdown provided a favorable environment for the masses to consciously recognise their hobbies which they never got time to garner. Although, the increased stress from WFH activities and ease of access to the kitchen has also brought some subconscious bad eating habits.
Also, during my own weekly grocery shopping visit, I see people packing their basket with unhealthy snack options with the shelves going almost empty.
You may have realised this but whenever you are emotionally low or stressed, you seek to fill that emotional void by eating your favorite food. This can severely affect your healthy eating habits in the long run if the problem is not tackled consciously. This is a vicious cycle that can stop you from your weight loss regime.
Understand how Emotions affect your Eating Habits
Emotional eating is a coping mechanism for many to deal with the stress that triggers due to work, relationship, financial issues, or any other negative events. These stressful events reduce your happiness quotient which is caused by the lack of ‘dopamine’ release that makes you happy.
In such a stressful situation most of the time people eat less but in some cases, it can cause binge eating habits. If not any stressful event, even the unconscious consumption of unhealthy snacks as a part of distraction from your work can create a snowball effect.
The worst part of this syndrome because of a short-lived period apart from disturbing your healthy lifestyle routine can build up guilt that can pull back your weight goals throwing you into the same vicious cycle discussed above.
How to Tackle the Emotional Eating Syndrome or Emotional Disorder?
Just like any other syndrome or disorder you can control this if you follow these 10 simple but helpful tips:
1. Become aware and accept the behaviour:
You can only change if you are aware that you are going through some problems and accept them. Your acceptance of the problem is half the battle won. From this point, you can start planning for your journey to overcome emotional eating!
2. Seek Support
Before making any conclusions on your own or starting a routine suggested from the university of Google search, make sure you talk to a qualified professional. Your health parameters can speak a lot for your health and can guide your route to tackle emotional eating
3. Track your Food Intake
There are various apps out which can help you keep a track of what nutrition is going inside you. Track what you eat, when you eat, how much you eat, and hunger level post-meal. Tracking your food intake will give you insights and self understanding on what works for your body and what doesn’t suits your body. This will help you overcome your emotional eating patterns
4. Practise Yoga
Just like physical exercise strengthens your physical health, Yoga and pranayama can help you with the mental exercise. Focus on your breathing pattern can improve self-awareness and calm your mind. Focussed and Calm mind will help you control your eagerness and anxiety and will stop you from eating unnecessarily
5. Never Deprive Yourself
Stress often leads to adverse Emotional Eating Syndrome. Tackle your stress with enough sleep. Eat enough food that will give you energy. Depriving your body of food and sleep will wear you out. Staying awake for a long time creates unnecessary late-night hunger pangs. This is mostly the case when you are also on a weight loss regimen. The restrictive diet may limit your food intake and emotional outburst on food
6. Snack Healthy
Your breakfast or snack time can include good volumes of food without overshooting your calorie intake. Replace oily, unhealthy, and ready to eat products with fruits or other healthy recipes. Replace sugar in your food with jaggery or honey. Processes of food give temporary fulfilment, giving signal to your mind being full because of which it will avoid making you eat more than required
7. Drink Enough Water
Sometimes the body may confuse the hunger pangs with thirst. Every time you feel hungry, first drink a glass of water. This will help you recognise if you’re hungry or your body confused it with thirst and will help you by not making you eat more.
8. Indulge in Positive Distractions
Keep yourself engaged in the activities you like and this will reduce the number of distractions that may lead to emotional eating. Indulging yourself in a hobby or a passion would give you that dopamine kick with long term positive effects
9. Train your Body
The weight loss journey is not an easy road. It’s a complete overhaul of your personality. With such a drastic positive change to be inculcated, you need to disciplined with your workouts. Train your body for timely meals and this will help your body clock adjust to the schedule and reduce the hunger pangs if any
10. Work on Positive Self-Talk
This may sound absurd in the first place to some people but the journey to overcome any bad habit or improving your lifestyle is a difficult process. External motivation can only help you for a short period. When you feel that you are going inside the kitchen to grab that packet of unhealthy snacks, talk and remind yourself about the bigger picture
Except for these 10 easy steps, you can also talk to your family and friends, stretch or just take a bath. Finding those alternative methods to cope up with emotional eating will help you sail through easily. But always make sure that you talk to someone about this syndrome. Also, don’t shy away from taking the help of professionals. An investment into a guiding light in the self-improvement journey always pays off in the end.
Since all my diet plans are based on home cooked food, I also keep a check on those weekend vibes and those cheat meals to keep my client’s taste buds satisfied. This keeps them motivated, happy and satisfied and keep moving on the journey of good health!