Are you an emotional eater?

Are you an emotional eater?

Do you eat when you are not hungry?
Do you eat when you are bored?
Do you eat when anxious or stressed?
Do you have sudden hunger that needs to be satisfied instantly?
Do you binge eat?
Do you reward yourself with food?
Do you feel powerless or out of control around food?

If you answer yes to any of these questions you could be an emotional eater.

Why does it occur?Food is pleasurable – When we eat palatable food high in sugar and fats, opioids (narcotics) are released; opioids are substances that target the brain’s reward center. Opioids affect the brain by attaching to receptors and once attached, the brain sends signals to ease pain and stress and to calm down. Other well-known opioids include codeine, hydrocodon and methadone. The feeling these substances cause keep you coming back for more.

Identify your triggers

Depression
Anxiety
Exhaustion
Boredom
Stress
Childhood habits
Social influences

Potential ways to avoid eating

Depression – Call Someone, Look at photos or Listen to up-beat music

Anxiety – Dance, Take a walk, Tap acupressure points, Rest one hand on your forehead and other on the back of your neck

Exhaustion – Drink tea, Take a bath, Wrap up in blanket

Boredom – Read, Watch TV, Go Outdoors, Make a bucket list

Stress – Scream, Exercise, Meditate, Find things that give you a release

Childhood habits – Reflect on memories, Remove yourself from familiar situations

Social Influences – Activity with friends, Keep a food log and note your mood

Mindful Eating

Develop awareness of your eating habits and pause before engaging in old behaviors. Become mindful and learn how to stay in control of your emotions.

1. Eat before you are “starving” – when you are very hungry most times you do not care what you eat

2. Start with a small portion – use smaller plates

3. Appreciate your food – strip away all distractions, immerse in your food experience, and show appreciation before you dig in

4. Take it all in – use all your senses when dining: smell the aromas, feel the textures on your tongue, notice the colors, taste the spices and hear the sound it makes when you chew

5. Take small bites and eat slowly – it’s easier to taste food when your mouth isn’t full

Emotional eating is powerful and an undeniable way to reduce pain, yet it can also be detrimental to your health. Through commitment, patience and strength, it is possible to break the cycle!

Amanda Chalifour

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