I’m at Diran’s and I forgot my camera at home (with pictures of pasta puttanesca, recipe that you will get tomorrow!). Still, I was craving some blogging so I decided to write about emotional eating, this week’s subject on BodyRock.tv.
Picture from here.
What is emotional eating?
Emotional eating occurs when we eat to huge amounts of foods in reaction to feelings instead of hunger.
Emotional eating is the cause of 75% of overeating and the reason most diets fail.
What triggers emotional eating?
Emotional eating occurs in response to unwanted feelings and emotions like boredom, anxiety, stress, anger, sadness and loneliness. Thoughts regarding negative self-worth are also to blame.
Stress can biologically lead to emotional eating since the hormone cortisol is released when we are under pressure, and also leads to a craving for high-calorie foods.
Also, when you eat foods that are high in sugar and/or fat, your body releases dopamine, a brain chemical that activates the pleasure center. Result: you want to repeat the experience! The specific foods that you choose can be linked to happy memories.
How to prevent emotional eating?
- Add high-quality carbs and healthy fats to each meal – they will help to keep your feel-good brain chemicals up.
- Don’t keep junk food in your pantry. You’re craving is certainly not important enough to go to the store.
- Before going for food, drink a big glass of water.
- When eating unhealthy foods, really think about how it makes you physically feel. Doing it each time may lead to negative reinforcement – and decrease of the behaviour.
- Keep a jar with a picture of something you want on it. When a craving occurs, decide whether you want to buy a treat or put the money you would spend on it in the jar to buy what’s on the picture.
- If you’re able to, wait for 20 minutes – enough time for your hormones to come back to normal (and for the craving to fade).
- Reduce your caffeine intake – it triggers the release of stress chemicals.
- Chew some gum – it helps with stress.
- If you’re eating out of boredom, switch to tea and herbal tea: it still keeps your hands occupied without calories (and with health benefits).
- Read a book, magazine, or blogs.
- Go for a walk.
- Talk to a friend.
- Do housework.
- Never skip meals.
- If you do eat junk food, don’t bring the whole bag or container: put one serving in a bowl and stick to it.
Sources, consult for more information:
Stop Emotional Eating
Control Emotional Eating
Do You Binge When You’re Upset?
And, of course, my personal experience as well as my biology and psychology classes!