Author – Good Health
Whether it is because you are feeling stressed, tired, lonely, bored or even happy; emotional eating happens when we use food to encourage or reinforce positive emotions to make ourselves feel good – eating to satisfy emotions rather than physical hunger. Experts suggest that 75% of overeating is caused by an attempt to satisfy our emotions. Most of us know what, when and how much we should be eating, but many of us find our emotions can be stronger than our willpower.
5 signs you may be emotionally eating
- You eat when you are not physically hungry – eating past full and ignoring your body’s signals or using food as an emotional coping mechanism
- You find it hard to find food that satisfies you
- You find yourself mindlessly eating – you may not enjoy or taste the food because you are eating without thinking or without being mindful
- When experiencing heightened emotions you tend to have stronger or more intense cravings
- When you are wanting to improve your mood you look for more comforting, convenience foods
5 ways to help manage emotional eating
1. Fill your kitchen with nourishing foods
Eat wholefoods that nourish your body and mind. Wholefoods are full of nutrients that help support our overall health and wellbeing. Choose foods for their nutritional content; for example, blueberries provide antioxidants and Vitamin C. Chia seeds, oily fish (sardines and salmon) and walnuts have high Omega 3 fatty acid contents to support stress and overall mood.
2. Eat a balanced diet
You need a variety of foods including good fats, protein and complex carbohydrates for a nutrient-rich and fulfilling diet. If your diet is too restrictive this could encourage emotional eating or make it harder to manage your emotional eating and willpower. Supplements can also be a helpful way to ensure you are getting the nutrients your body needs to function at its best.
3. Support your blood sugar levels
Blood sugar imbalances lead to cravings which can make emotional eating that little bit harder to manage. Chromium and white mulberry leaf are key nutrients that help to manage cravings and the botanical Garcinia Cambogia also helps to balance blood sugar levels and even helps to manage mood though the support of healthy serotonin levels.
4. Eat mindfully
Eating mindfully means slowing down, expressing gratitude for and being satisfied with the food we are eating and paying attention to why and how we eat. A simple commitment to appreciate, respect and above all enjoy the food you eat every day.
5. Disconnect food from your reward or ‘feel good’ system
It is important to disconnect food from your reward system and start rewarding yourself with other fulfilling activities rather than eating food; for example, catching up with a friend, having a massage, or take a relaxing bath. Try viewing food as nourishment and fuel rather than part of your emotional response.
When helping to manage emotional eating it is important to listen to your body and acknowledge your body’s signals to help eat when you are actually hungry and to stop eating before you become over-full. Be patient and kind with yourself as you explore, discover and help manage your emotionally eating.
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