By: Dietitian Garima
“STRESSED” is “DESSERTS” spelled backwards
Visualize a frustrating day: the boss called you out in front of the entire team for a slip-up; your mother is not getting better with the new prescribed medications; and you keep forgetting to pay the rent. What do you do? You buy your favourite pastry and sit down to enjoy it. Only one bite into the pastry and you receive a phone call and the next thing you see is only crumbs left on the brown pastry bag.
Emotional Eating a Common Problem
Sounds familiar with that scenario? Maybe you substitute something crunchy or salty for a sweet meal, but the idea is the same. It’s called implies emotional eating – something to consume while you’re nervous, frustrated or sad, even though you don’t feel hungry.
Eating in response to negative emotions is usually what is popularly known as emotional eating. Emotional eating has been, in some individuals, a mediator between depression and obesity; may be an outcome of inadequate handling and dys-regulation of emotion along with genetic susceptibility.
Hunger is the body’s “shout-out” to go “get some” food to run the engine of life which is nearing empty and that is its whole point and not to fill up a hole or a void created by an emotional turmoil. Henceforth it is a necessity to be all knowing about reason of the feeling of hunger that whether it is a physiological and actual true hunger or just a liability of humans to fill up the pie-hole. Leaning in to learn the difference of actual physiological hunger from the emotional one is the key to challenge and change the habit of emotional eating.
Physiological hunger is plain and simple need to food and eating to fill and satisfaction. Whereas, Emotional eating is like a mother in law; it comes suddenly and stays long. It has the want of something specific and make you have thoughts of dissatisfaction, guilt, shame and regret. Instead of giving the energy it consumes that of both mind and heart leaving you wandering in thoughts and re triggering the cycle
So, keeping an insight is the key and if you think you ought not to eat then define it with reason, so as to break the vicious cycle of,
emotional challenge-> hunger -> Eating -> stress and viola…Repeat.
To deal with this particular predicament, first of all, is to follow “TAKE 5”
- CHECK IN WITH YOURSELF.
- And then to cross the bridge to reach at ACCEPTANCE that there is something to worry about.
- Then move to INDULGE in an alternative and
- SAVOUR thy food!
- A MINDFUL EATING i.e. be deliberately aware of the quality and quantity of food, even if there need be a help of a dietitcian or a psychologist.
Stick to a routine which must include DAILY EXERCISE, SLEEP of an ample 6-8 hours. Dealing with the source of those emotions, either being more social about it or improve relations with near and dear ones.
Surely, we can all agree to one thing—eating emotionally is a common problem that needs to be dealt with. Indeed, the emotional eating may not be the worst addiction to have, but it can cause serious health problems in the later future.
In the end, instead of hiding them with calories, we have to confront our emotions. Although this may appear frightening or demanding, it is the pathway to radiant health and vitality. And when our body is well-fed and healthy, our feedback loop is that our emotions are calmer; minds happier and more balanced, so it becomes a journey well worth taking.
“Your body deserves nourishment and care, not restriction and self-criticism”