If you are an emotional eater and you are struggling to maintain a healthy weight you are not alone. It doesn’t matter who you are emotional eating happens to everyone. But when it starts to be unhealthy and sabotages your weight-loss efforts, it’s a problem. Let’s look at what the cause is behind these emotions and how we can get back on track to our weight loss goal.
Why do we all do it?
Turning to food, not because you’re hungry but because it solves a problem to your chronic stress temporarily, is futile. Besides that, we all know the side effects, you feel ordinary 15-minutes later, and you end up the with some extra weight that you didn’t need. Comfort foods like potato chips, chocolate, cake and ice cream are favourites because they stimulate reward hormones. Specifically, serotonin and dopamine build strong chemical bonds between you and the “comfort food”. As a result, we feel happy each time we eat these foods.
Common triggers are:
- Financial stress
- Work stress
- Relationship issues
- Health issues
What makes us eat emotionally?
It just so happens researchers have discovered what is behind the triggers that contribute to emotional eating, ref. The results of the study found a correlation with the following conditions:
- Depression 40%
- Anger 7%
- Anxiety 6%
Where depression is the most likely, followed by anger and anxiety to cause emotional cravings towards eating.
Furthermore, the cravings strike when we are our the weakest, and it’s hard to resist. And then it can happen without you thinking about what you’re doing. As a result of a difficult problem at work, stressed or feeling alone, food serves as a distraction instead of dealing with the situation. Most people, will reach for foods that are high in carbohydrates and fats because they work to help them feel better for a short time.
Nevertheless, the good news is that you can take control and get back to your weight loss goal.
How do you get back on track?
Unlike your emotions that show up suddenly. You need to be prepared and have some strategies in place to cope before the negative feelings appear and become an urge to eat. Here are some smart strategies:
- Keep a food diary. Write down what, when, how much you eat, as well as how you feel. You may notice patterns. We know that just by keeping a food dietary that it increases your weight loss chances by a factor of 50%
- Eat at regular times throughout the day, to minimise cravings.
- Chose a diet that suits your needs, ref.
- Exercise: is a great way to release stress, like yoga, meditation walking or gym.
- Work, do some work, housework, gardening, or help a friend out.
- Deep breathing.
- Drink a glass of water, wait 5 minutes for the craving to past.
- Support network, tell a friend or family member, ask them to support you by being your accountability partner.
- Remove temptation. Remove the high carb foods from your space that will sabotage your weight loss. Go through your kitchen and eliminate your comfort foods. When restocking, never go grocery shopping when you are emotional or are hungry.
- Plan healthy snacks. Prepare a backup plan and have a healthy snack ready, if you feel hungry.
- Write down 100 benefits of your goal to lose weight:
- Benefits to you
- Benefits to your friends and family
- Benefits to the greater community
- Ask if you still can’t control the emotional eating, it may be wise to seek the support of your health care professional. You can learn ways to manage those feelings so that you don’t sabotage your weight loss goal and continue on your journey to a healthy happen life.
P.S. Are you inspired and feeling passionate about this article? Let me know, I would love to hear from you. Furthermore, if you think of a friend or someone special that you would like to read this story… feel free to share it with them, it might be the change they are looking for. Ultimately, my goal is to provide you with the knowledge to make an informed decision on the way to best support your health goals.
If there are any aspects of your diet or health, you would like to discuss or clarify. Contact us through this website or if it is of a more private nature contact me directly.
In wisdom and good health
Phone: 0409 278 320