Food choices change with your emotions. When you are happy, the type of food you choose is
definitely different than the food you opt when you’re under stress. Ultimately emotional eating is nothing but eating large amounts of food usually, mostly ‘junk’ or ‘unhealthy’ food under stress and other emotions. According to the studies about 75% of overeating is due to emotions instead of hunger.
Foods like potatoes chips, cakes, pastries, chocolates, pizzas, burgers, potato fries, etc are the ones associated with emotions. All these listed foods are comfort foods but also are Junk and definitely unhealthy.
Depression, boredom, loneliness, chronic anger, anxiety, break-ups, frustration, family problems, stress, poor self-esteem, all these emotions result in overeating and unnecessary dumping of extra calories. It is very important to recognize the triggers of emotional eating and then manage it with appropriate techniques.
Identifying the triggers of Emotional Eating:
There are few situations and triggers which encourage emotional eating:
When Social: Forceful eating because of the people around you may unnecessarily increase your calories. Overeating may be due to encouragement by other to eat, argument, etc.
Emotional: Most of the overeating is due stress, boredom, loneliness, poor self-esteem, and many more emotions. Eating is a common response to such emotions which is pleasurable. Food is used to fill the void.
Sometimes situational eating is also one of the cause. For example, passing by a bakery, a restaurant make act as cues for you. Eating in front of TV, computer generally leads to excess eating.
Difference between Emotional hunger and Physical hunger:
- Generally emotional hunger is sudden, physical hunger might be gradual.
- Craving on specific food to fill the void is not due to physical hunger, foods like pizza, chips, chocolates, etc are preferred. But when you are really hunger you generally are open to all options.
- Emotional hunger is sudden and feels the need to be satisfied immediately. Physical hunger is patient.
- Emotional eating generally gives a guilt feeling later on unlike physical eating.
Tips to stop Emotional Eating:
Once you identify your triggers of emotional eating, it becomes easy to manage them. Now finding alternatives to emotional eating is the second step and you need to work on it as soon as possible. Find some alternatives which keep you engage and away from binging over the Junk.
Some options may be:
- Get involve in reading a book
- Talk on phone with your friend
- Go for a walk
- Get involve in exercise
- Do a household work
- Eat some fruits, veggies, etc
- Meditation/ other Relaxation techniques
Try out these tips to avoid binging on extra calories.
All the Best!