Most times, the only way out of a problem is true acknowledgement of the facts without mincing words. Many times, we think we are alone in a certain challenge and will like to keep it that way but you will never know the help you can give someone and get back in return unless you speak out.
In our bid to live healthy and fit, there might be issues that will always mess up with our routine and unless taken care of, we will always rise and fall.
I am an Emotional Eater. I have always liked myself that way until I decided to be fit and beautiful. Recently, so unlike I expected the new to start, it kicked off on a different, highly challenging note on almost every count. So ,yours truly has been on the emotional downhill. I couldn’t even get myself to write untill today.
I read some more and found out there have been articles written for emotional eaters (the struggle is real). I got to work and here are some things I learnt. Don’t be overwhelmed by the biological terms at first. Your brain will surely decode the meanings…
Stress can shut down appetitie. A structure in the brain called the Hypothalamus produces corticotrophin-reducing hormone , which suppresses appetite. The brain also sends messages to the adrenaline glands atop the kidneys to pump out the hormone Epinephrine (also known as Adrenaline). Epinephrine helps trigger the body’s fight or flight response , a revved -up physiological state that temporarily puts eating on hold. However, if the stress persists, the adrenal gland releases another hormone called cortisol and cortisol increases appetite and may also ramp up motivation in general , including the motivation to eat.
Once invested, fatsa and sugar-filles foods seem to have a feedback effect that inhibits activity in the part of the brain that produce and process stress and related emotions. These foods are comfort foods in that they seem to counteract stress and this may contribute to people’s stress induced cravings for their foods. Over eating is an attempt to satisfy psychological, rather than physical needs. Over eating isn’t only the problem with emotional eaters. Stressed people also lose sleep, exercise less and drink more alcohol.
According to Sarah Jenks of LiveMoreWeighLess, the challenge doesn’t lie in knowing what to eat and how much, it is in why we eat. Regardless of how badly we want to lose weight, or how clean the system is , because we have an Emotional dependence on food , no matter how strict the rules are, we are gonna break them.
HOW TO KNOW YOU ARE AN EMOTIONAL EATER
** You eat when you are not hunger. Hunger tells us we need physical refreshment and it comes with growling, rumbling feeling in your tummy. If your need for food doesn’t come with this rumbling, you are craving emotional nourishment. Emotional nourishement , that is , the need for love, comfort, happiness, entertainment is easily gotten through food.
**You have FOMO….Fear of missing out. This is a craving for other people’s food or snacks. You know that feeling that you may never see your friend’s home made pie for a very long time can make you want to eat more a fair share.
** We are not in love with our bodies. A negative feeling towards what we see in the mirror is enough to depress us and make us think we can never be better than what we are seeing. An extra scoop of ice cream will not make any difference , we think.
**You don’t want people to know what you eat. This is so true especially in these times when we see alot of healthy eating food challenges touted by fitness groups and magazines. We may feel like the odd man out and to hide face, we eat in secret. No one will know what I ate in the closet but the extra pounds will tell soon.
**You feel guilty for eating. That is the most crime , especially for people that want to eat healthy. They feel so bad with themselves for having an extra plate of food when their hunger wasn’t satisfied. An occasional bar of chocolate or creamy cake is a crime that needs to be punished for such type of eating.
If you have read thus far, then I believe that you are making a mental change already. Delivering yourself from emotional eating is not a one day thing. Afterall, most of us have such streaks in our blood type so except you want to flush your blood group and take on another person’s , don’t wish for a quick fix. Life will sometimes leave us sad, hurt and stressed out.
HERE’S A WAY OUT
First of all, you have to make a detailed note of what triggers emotional eating in you. Different strokes for different folks will be a key factor to helping ourselves. To some, a thing as their team losing the football game is enough to trigger their over eating while something as hard as a breakup keeps them going. Notable things like loneliness, break ups , failure, lack of money , hopelessness, etc are triggers.
Secondly, find a way out. If boredom gets you using food to fill up the time, find a hobby , a group , do an active activity and not a passive one. For me, sitting down to read or watch television is an activity but a passive one. It might get you eat more.
Exercise. Sometimes, I take a walk to clear my head and the fresh air helps too. Dancing might also come in handy.
Meditation…. Truly, I won’t tell for show that this works for me everyone. Meditating is a battle for me when my emotional eating streak is triggered. I seem to find it difficult to work my head around any positive thinking at point. Somehow , music is what does it for me. Music clears the way for an emotional release.
Support Groups are such wonderful tools. Family members or friends might find it difficult to understand what you are going through big connect to social groups that have the same kindred spirit. Most fitness groups will understand the emotional eater and the demons they are fighting.
All in all, you are not alone in the struggle. No one is ever alone unless you don’t speak out.
Changing lifestyle is all about knowing what works for you and including it in your regime . It might involve including a sugary meal in your diet, eating out with friends, activities that will make you be tour real self . Sarah Jenks suggests that the best thing is to have fun. Have fun with your cleaan eating habits. Have fun with the exercise you do. Have fun with yourself and all will be well.
Take a deep breathe. Relax. We are in this together.
Let us know your biggest struggle in fighting emotional eating.
How do you intend to fight those triggers and stay happy and calm.
Whatever you decide, I wish you more grace .
Harvard Mental Health Letter. Harvard Health Publication “Why Stress Causes People to Overeat”
Sarah Jenks. LiveMoreWeighLess. “5 Signs You Are An Emotional Eater And What To Do About It”