Emotional Eating And How To Beat It
Food means different things to different people. For some, it spells out indulgence (the real foodies out there), for others, it brings out their creativity (master chef and the great bake-off wannabes), while others focus on the way food brings people together to celebrate and share.
These examples are perhaps on the ‘event’ of food and say little about our day-to-day habits. Again, everyone has a different relationship with food when they are just doing ordinary life. For some it’s about nutrition, for others, it’s merely an inconvenient part of staying alive, but there is another food habit that doesn’t quite get the attention it deserves - emotional eating.
There is no denying that food makes us feel good. Whether it’s because you are eating a healthy diet to support your gym goals or because you are getting your sugar fix. Either way, it is very easy to turn to food when you need a quick emotional boost because it’s accessible and it works.
Unfortunately, there is a trade-off and that’s your health. This article aims to help you understand whether you are an emotional eater and, if you are, to help you find a path to a healthier relationship with food.
What is comfort eating?
Comfort eating, also known as emotional eating, is when you eat food to make yourself feel better in the moment. Comfort eaters tend to choose food items that are high in sugar or fat. This is because of the dopamine release that normally comes from eating such foods.
Emotional eating can be seen as a way to cope with or disguise your negative emotions. People that eat when they’re sad or lonely are trying to replace the negative emotion with a positive feeling that comes from endorphins, rather than dealing with the negative emotion directly. Put another way, they are literally filling an emotional void with food.
Some people eat out of excitement too. This is common during celebrations, or when watching movies and in social settings.
Whatever the cause, emotional eating can quickly become a habit, and that in itself becomes an issue because the behaviour becomes self-reinforcing. That means food, which is your go-to-high for comfort when something else makes you feel bad, causes you distress if you cannot have it, so it becomes its own trigger.
What are the health risks?
Emotional eating can lead to weight gain and obesity. This can also lead to other chronic illnesses such as diabetes, metabolic syndrome, heart disease, anxiety, and depression.
It is common that emotional eaters become self-conscious about their weight gain, appearance, and health issues, and this can often evoke even more negative emotions. This can include a low sense of self worth or self-loathing. Unfortunately, these feelings often exacerbate the problem because this drives emotional eaters to lean further into their source of comfort - food.
This is how emotional eating can very quickly become a vicious cycle that can really impact someone’s quality of life.
How to resolve it
The first step is to identify the triggers that lead to emotional eating. Once the triggers are identified, it is important to find healthy coping mechanisms to deal with the emotions that trigger the emotional eating.
In other words, you have to form new and positive habits that either deal with the negative emotions directly or that provide an alternative source of comfort that does not compromise your health.
Eating healthy food during meal times.
Although people that eat for comfort tend to make poor diet decisions, generally most of the actual comfort eating component tends to happen outside of their meal times, e.g. snacking between meals.
If you stick to healthier meal options during your main meals, i.e. breakfast, lunch, and dinner, then you are more likely to be conscious of your eating habits between meals. Also, the impact of a less healthy snack is less pronounced if at all, or at least most of your other meals are healthy.
Whatever the case, don’t beat yourself up about comfort eating, it’s natural to seek comfort during times of distress. It’s really important to be kind and nurturing toward yourself, especially when you are going through periods of stress.
Try JUVIA Digestive Balance Formula
JUVIA is quite unusual because it seems to impact the body in so many ways. This is not surprising given the fact that it improves gut health. This is because your gut is responsible for so much more than digesting your food. For example, 95% of your serotonin, a mood regulating neurotransmitter, is produced in your gut. Low serotonin is linked to depression, so it’s no wonder that so many of our users report improved mood and well being after taking JUVIA for a short while.
We’ve also seen customers report that JUVIA helps with their food cravings, which is a double-win for emotional eaters.
Dealing with negative emotions
This requires a degree of mindfulness because you must pay attention to the feelings that arise and steer you toward eating for emotional reasons. Once you have identified the negative emotion and the precise moment that you desire comfort from food, you are in the driving seat and you can take positive steps toward neutralising the negative emotions and replacing the bad habit with a good one.
Mindfulness is a powerful life hack that ripples into many areas of your life. Being present can really help with anxiety because most of the thoughts that make people feel anxious are often about the past, so can’t harm you, or in the future, which doesn’t exist yet. Being in the present moment is a good way to detach from perceived threats and find peace. A good book to read about being present is The Power of Now, by Eckhart Tolle.
If you frequently feel anxious or depressed, it is worth seeking professional guidance. Getting help is not something to be ashamed of, it actually shows a lot of strength, courage, and a willingness to improve.
There are several types of therapies available to you. Counselling is very useful to help you deal with the root cause of your negative emotions, and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is really good at helping you change the way you see things and to make better decisions.
Replacing negative habits with positive habits
There is no escaping the fact that you are the sum of your habits. If your habits are negative, they will have a negative impact on your life, whereas positive habits reinforce overall well-being.
Other Positive habits include:
- Sleep optimisation
- Exercising frequently
Don’t be afraid to take positive action on dealing with your negative emotions. Everyone experiences them and it’s in your best interests to do so. Getting professional help is always a good call because professionals know how to resolve the specific issues that are causing you distress. Remember, conquering yourself is a true sign of strength and quite possibly the greatest achievement of all.