As we approach the New Year there are many goals being made and some have to do with food. Food can be a huge distraction to people and with distraction will be a delay of results. I have spent many hours training athletes and working with them on their nutrition. In these sessions we discuss what is going well and what is not going well with their nutrition. What tends to commonly pop up is their relationship to food and how it mostly attributes to “Emotional Eating”.
Which leads me into my first blog post for 2018…..
What is Emotional Eating?
Emotional eating is the practice of managing one’s emotions by eating food. Here are some things that can help you figure out how to identify emotional eating, its effects, and a handful of tips on what you can do.
What causes emotional eating?
Major changes in circumstances, relationships, work dynamics, daily stress, and general feelings of a loss of control can be major factors. For example, a recent break up could drive a person to emotional eating. A sudden change in the demeanor of a formally cordial coworker could leave you feeling alienated, or the daily ebb and flow of lives daily activities could put you in mood where food is thought of as a reward, a way to relieve stress, or way to avoid dealing with emotions surrounding a situation.
How do you detect emotional eating?
There are a few differences between the type of hunger that comes from emotional needs, and that of physical needs. Physical hunger is gradual, and eating fulfills the need for nourishment. When you eat after having been physically hungry, you will most likely feel better or more energized. When the hunger is emotional hunger, eating may not give you the feeling of being filled, which can lead to overeating. At the end of the meal, you might feel tired, or depressed, but there are even more long term effects that can come from emotional eating.
How can emotional eating affect you?
Along with the emotional effects already mentioned, there are a number of health risks associated with emotional eating. It is one of the leading causes of failed diets and weight gain. Weight gain puts a heavy strain on organs such as the heart, lungs, and liver, which can lead to high blood pressure and diabetes. Yet, not only internal organs are at risk. A person who has gained a substantial amount of weight faces an increased risk of joint injuries of all types. A slip or fall could result in a serious injury that requires surgery, and many months of healing, but what is even more frightening is the fact that a lot weight gain could make it more difficult, or even prevent emergency medical teams from being able to respond in an efficient or timely manner.
What can you do?
One of the most commonly used methods of determining the source of hunger is the food test. Ask yourself if you want to eat this food, or if there is something else you can eat instead. You can also try habit replacement. Find something positive to do when you feel stressed out. Exercise, deep breathing, or any stress relieving hobby can go a long way to improving your control.
After reading through this introduction of “Emotional Eating”, do you have any red flags pop up inside?
The reason I ask is because it is very important to identify a few of these tendencies inside of us. Another huge thing also is not to look at this as a bad thing, just look at it as you learn more about yourself.
Emotional overeating is one of the leading causes of failed diets and weight gain. This can lead to feelings of failure, hopelessness, and a general depression. Unhealthy eating habits often lead to negative physical effects as well, so this article will discuss some of the behaviors that might be signs of emotional overeating.
Food Cravings Appear Out of Nowhere
Physical hunger is most often experienced as gradually intensifying waves signifying that the body requires a form of sustenance. Sometimes it is possible that there is a deficiency of one or more nutrients, but one of the most telling signs of emotional overeating is the sudden, and urgent
appearance of food cravings. During these urgent cravings, you are less likely to make healthy food choices, such as fast food, processed snack foods, prepackaged, or otherwise artificial food sources rather than eating healthier traditionally prepared meals.
Your Emotions Drive Your Eating Habits
Mood can affect the speed, and way we eat. Do you sometimes notice that a negative situation can send
you running to your car to get a comfort food? In times of intense emotional upheaval, it can easily become a habit to turn to food for emotional management. That cookie or ice cream might feel good during consumption, but it isn’t truly fixing the heart of the issue.
Many people are conditioned from a young age to associate food with some sort of reward or good times.
That is part of the reason for certain restaurants to have places for children to play.
You Eat While Stressed
Another big sign that that could show that you are emotionally overeating is that you are eating while
stressed. Any changes in life large or small can cause a measure of stress. Deteriorating financial health is considered to be a leading cause of stress in many countries around the world, so it is
possible that financial stress could lead to comfort food seeking activity.
Relationships are also a major source of stress due to the tendency for relationships to experience
inevitable changes in dynamics. This could be anything from romantic relationships to work relationship.People tend to expect routine, so when relationship changes occur, one or both people can be thrown intoa state of uncertainty.
You Keep Eating Past Being Full
One of the most serious of the signs of emotional overeating, is eating past being full. This is when
the need to fill the emotional void exceeds the body’s natural feeling of fullness. It can manifest
itself in joyless eating, which is eating on autopilot. During this period you might consume empty
calories so quickly that you don’t even taste the food. You may also find yourself forcing the second
half ofa meal you could have saved for later, or buying additional snack foods that you will be tempted to eat prematurely. Part of the serious nature of this habit, is that it is a primary mechanism that
makes weight gain and other health issues a possibility.
Tips For Putting a Stop To Emotional Eating
People often say that the first step to conquering any habit is recognizing that there is a problem, butwhat can you do to change or stop the behavior? The article that we’ll be considering will be looking atsome of the factors and sharing some tips on how you can put a stop to emotional eating.
One very effective way to find out the what, where, and when of emotional eating is to begin a process of keeping a journal. Much of the drives to engage in emotional eating are subconscious, so keeping a journal will be a powerful tool in discovering what the circumstances or experiences may be that lead to a session of emotional eating. Write down every time you decide to eat. During the note taking, document details of the events by asking yourself questions. How hungry were you on a scale of 1 – 10?
Where were you when the eating took place. Were you at work, school, home or out in public?
Were you with friends, loved ones, coworkers or alone? You might be surprised to find that subtle, yet visible patterns emerge.
After you’ve spent some time taking notes, compiling information, and asking yourself key questions, you may find what some of the major triggering events might be. If you have asked yourself the questions and found that you were less than a 6 in hunger, and cravings appear during specific situations, you could be stress eating. One of the easiest ways to quit almost any habit is to simply replace the unhealthy behavior with healthy behavior. For example, you can keep healthy, low calorie snacks like almonds hand.There are also some delicious teas which contain nutrients that help curb hunger, aid metabolic function, and a few like black tea are known to lower stress hormones by nearly half during consumption.
Alternatively, other methods such as exercise and deep breathing can be very effective in managing stress in the moment, or at the end of your day. Shallow breathing has been found to increase stress in the body, so spending the time to allow your body a chance to concentrate on breathing can lead to many health benefits. Exercise and breathing go hand in hand, so a healthy regimen can go a long way to putting you on the path to success.
As you finish reading this article, I encourage you to ask yourself 3 questions.
1) What are your Top 3 goals for 2018?
2) Are you moving in the direction to achieve them?
3) What will you start doing right now to move in the right direction?
May your 2018 be EPIC!