They say, there’s food for every kind of mood which means that food has the power to combat any and every kind of mood swing. Our bodies often tend to demand certain kind of foods depending on our mental and emotional state. No doubt physical exertion plays a major role in our cravings but one cannot let go of the fact that how we feel and think has got a lot to do with what we eat.
You may often find yourself binge on junk food when you are stressed. For some people, the pattern is so evident, that they can notice it over time.
So what kind of connect does food have with our emotions and moods?
A lot of researchers suggest that it is important we fix our food first before before undergoing other therapies while trying to improve on how we feel each day. 90% of our serotonin receptors are located in our gut. Therefore your gut health and diet can positively or negatively affect your mood.
Considering the close connection between your gut and brain, it becomes easier to understand why you might feel anxious before an exam, or experience intestinal pain during stressful situations.
Coming back to emotional or stress eating, most healthy diets fail because of the same reason. Basically eating becomes your primary coping mechanism when dealing with overwhelming or negative emotions. You try to satiate emotional hunger with food and you must know that it is impossible to do so.
If you tick at least three of the following boxes, you can consider yourself an emotional eater.
Do you eat heavy meals while trying to soothe yourself during or after a panic attack?
Do you reward yourself or gratify your success with food?
Does food make you feel better about yourself?
Do you have no self-control around food?
Is hunger your first impulse in stressed situation?
Do you stuff yourself sometimes even when you are pretty full?
If you identify yourself as an emotional eater, you can resort to these five remedies to cut down on your stress eating.
1) If you feel depressed or lonely, don’t order in, even if you feel you cannot do without it. Call someone, distract yourself with music or keep healthy alternatives such as fruits or nuts handy.
2) If you feel anxious, try breathing exercises or go for a brisk walk. Keep a playlist ready for the situation. Listen to calming music. It helps combat anxiety and panic attacks.
3) If you are only bored and not hungry, indulge in a sport or any indoor hobby that doesn’t require you to be in the kitchen. Read a book or switch on the television. Don’t confuse boredom with hunger.
4) Follow a routine when it comes to food. Fix your meal timings and stick to them regardless your emotional or mental state.
5) Practice mindful eating.
Wondering what mindful eating is all about? Here is all that you need to know:
Most stress eaters feel powerless around food. They find it impossible to combat their food cravings. So the next time you feel like it, ask yourself these questions:
1) Are you merely hungry or bored?
2) Are you eating your meals in a distraction-free environment? Are you consuming what you are eating? Are you involuntarily establishing connections between your food and emotions?
3) Are you taking more in your plate than you need?
4) Can you wait for five minutes before you give into the craving?
By practising mindful eating, you can combat emotional or stress eating like a boss. Got suggestions or questions regarding the same? Mention them in the comments section below.