At some point in most people’s lives, they have probably succumbed to emotional eating, which is “eating for reasons other than hunger”.
However, a one-off encounter for some, emotional eating is a compulsive disorder for many. Many people turn to their favorite foods in times of stress, sadness, loneliness, boredom, etc. whether it be consciously or subconsciously.
Food can indeed be a very comforting thing, but emotional eating is considered to be an eating disorder, a disorder that can wreak havoc on your waistline.
For some odd reason when we eat due to emotional distress, we rarely (if ever) crave fresh fruits and vegetables. We usually reach for our favorite bag of chips, ice cream or candy — something salty or sweet loaded with fat and calories! Not fair! Why is this? Why do negative emotions lead to overeating and craving unhealthy foods?
Well, it turns out that there is a major connection between mood and food.
The pleasure of eating in and of itself has been proven to offset the effect of a bad mood. Food can also serve as a distraction. Most people gravitate towards kitchen and eat foods that make them feel good or as if they are rewarding themselves — “I’m sad, so it’s ok for me to have ice cream”.
Unfortunately, emotional eating only offers a temporary reprieve from your negative feelings. Once you are finished your binge, you are left not only with extra calories, but also with the added guilt of overeating, which only exacerbates your negative mood!
Wow! Sounds like reaching for that bag of chips when you had a bad day at the office is not worth it! Who needs added guilt and calories? No one!
So how do we avoid these pitfalls and steer clear of the junk cabinet?
First of all, it is important to Know your triggers and to recognize you’re doing it.
Secondly, if you’re prone to emotional eating, then be proactive and don’t keep “junk” food in the house. Instead, try to keep healthy snacks on hand- cut up, ready to grab veggies and fruits.
Third, only eat when you are truly hungry. If you are hungry, then your stomach tells you, not your brain.
Lastly, engage in other activities to distract you- exercise, read, nap, meet up with friends.
If you really need to have something salty or sweet, then try one of my healthy snacks. You won’t feel guilty afterwards!