Emotional eating is a challenge for many of us, we all have emotions and strong reactions to things which make us react in many unexpected ways!
Taking a moment to breathe and consider why the emotions are there in the first place or stepping away from a situation which is making you feel bad can be difficult. Although, these are essential if you want to stop emotional eating and curb that reactive response.
The urge to eat something is a powerful one when your stress response or anxiety have gone into overdrive and you’re no longer conscious about what you eat, you just need to eat/drink something to distract you and make those feelings or those unwanted sensations go away!
Then eating/drinking has become a coping mechanism or a distraction!
Emotional eating is a reaction to feelings, thoughts or sensations that drive you (sometimes in a ritualistic state) to try and quash them with the action of eating or drinking something. Often these foods/drinks are the ones which give you either a high or put you in a relaxed state.
Reconnecting with yourself, your person, the inner you will help you in a lot of ways. Asking yourself how you feel, what you need and really listening to that version of you that wants the very best for yourself. Your body is trying to communicate with you, it's time to start listening to what she's trying to say.
When you are faced with a stressful situation your body releases glucose for energy to help you either fight through it, freeze until the threat passes or run away from it, but when that stressor is constant, your cortisol remains high, your glucose depletes causing your appetite to increase!
When this happens your body craves carbohydrates and fat because it wants you to replace that energy quickly and therefore makes you ravenous for foods which will likely harm your wellness in the long term.
If your stress response remains switched on through the majority of the day then you end up in this vicious cycle of eat-crave-eat which will inevitably lead to a gain in body fat and decreased muscle if you're also not exercising.
That though is not the biggest concern with emotional eating, the biggest concerns are depleted immunity, increased blood pressure, increased risk of diabetes, depression, chronic headaches, digestive issues, anxiety, sleep disturbance, chronic illness and memory/concentration reduction.
Here’s a list of changes or ‘distractions’ you can use to stop your trip to the fridge/shop/vending machine when your partner, boss, family, kids are driving you mad or when you were just a bit too hard on yourself trying to do everything and be everything!
* Take a walk (opposite direction to a food source!)
* Drink a large glass of H2O (fills you up, time to think)
* Call someone who can help you get things off your chest or give you a positive outlook and help lower your heart rate
* Close your eyes for 5 minutes, take deep breaths in through your nose allowing your abdomen to expand with each breath in. Bring your shoulders down, back and relaxed. Breathe in for 4 and out for 6 if you can, if not build-up to this. Deep breathing has a calming effect on the whole body and helps to slow the heartbeat and lower blood pressure.
* Try and recite or something you read lately or better yet sing
* Play some motivating music and dance your bottom off!
* Play some games with your kids or the fur babies
* If you have someone available ask them for a big hug
OK, so we could go on and on about ways to ‘de-stress’ and prevent reactive eating, which tells you that, you can literally do ANYTHING to distract yourself from making a choice that may not only make you feel like crap after but can also lead to weight gain and a depletion your wellness!
If your job, boss, partner or life is too demanding and you’re in a constant stress state then something has to change. It is never easy to make changes in any of these areas but consistent stress is a very serious and life-threatening thing.
So, if this message resonates with you then it’s time to sit down, evaluate what brings you joy and makes your life easier, happier and what doesn’t, and make some big changes to all of those negative influences!