There are countless scenarios during which we crave food; when we’re bored and have no work to do, or when we’re watching TV or reading a book, we just can’t stop ourselves from munching on popcorn or chips.
Even during our mood swings we feel the urge to have something sweet like a chocolate, cookie or ice cream. We may also feel the craving for some junk food like burger or pizza.
This is what maybe classified as emotional eating, and if you want to stop this addiction, then you should be able to differentiate between hunger signals and ‘craving’.
You need to know if the hunger signals are coming from your emotional state or you are actually hungry. Emotion can drive your cravings and in this case, this feeling will bring a sudden change in your mental state. You will suddenly be looking for something to eat. Here, you need to stop and divert your attention. I know it is easy to say and it is a lot difficult to actually act upon, but it will certainly help you get over this habit.
Second thing is to note whether your desire is for some specific food or is it just plain old hunger signal. We know that we can eat anything to satisfy our hunger, but if you will be looking for a certain food, then it’s a clear sign of emotional hunger. Eating something of your choice is not bad when you feel hungry but making yourself bound for something particular just to cater your appetite is unhealthy. As they say, feed your hunger, not your emotions.
Mr. Jane Jakubczak is the coordinator of nutrition services in the U.S., and he says that 75% of the people, who meet him for weight-loss, eat only to deal with their emotions. They don’t even realize that they are actually doing it because of their emotional disturbance and that this has nothing to do with their appetite requirement. In his opinion, emotional eating is the top reason for diet failures.
If you want to stop emotional eating then think to cut back on your behavior. Be stiffer when it comes controlling your emotions and not letting them affect your diet. Analyze your hunger and make sure you do not over eat. Rating your hunger on a scale of 1 – 10 would be a great idea. Eat between the scales of 3 to 5 and try to balance your diet.
If you feel hungry, eat good healthy food and eat something for which your body is not craving. Firstly, if you are not hungry, you will not eat it. Secondly, if you really are hungry and if you do not eat the food of your choice,then you will only eat the sufficient quantity. Try to dodge your emotions and think of other alternatives as well.
There is a strong connection between brain chemistry and eating emotionally. It is like a fight-or-flight reaction which is faced by a real threat. Just for starters, make a journal and write in everything you ate emotionally. After a week, just look at the buffet you had and understand that it wasn’t necessary at all. Eventually, you yourself will start controlling your diet by remembering the harsh consequences of your emotional food frenzy.
Remember; emotional eating isn’t that a difficult problem to avert if you’re just a little more conscientious. For example, a simple way out would be to call up a friend, watch a movie or listen to some of your favorite music rather than eating unnecessarily in sensitive scenarios. Keep yourself busy and try to be around friends and family. Try to toss out unhealthy food out of your diet and have some fruit or soup in a tricky situation.