Eating unhealthy foods frequently or running towards the pantry when you are feeling low or depressed is a form of what we call ’emotional eating.’ As the name indicates, this type of eating is associated with emotions such as happiness, sadness, anxiety, depression, boredom, loneliness, and so on. This is not a normal situation as it disrupts your eating cycle and causes you to gain weight. People suffering from emotional eating might feel guilty after having their desired food. Sometimes thinking about food all the time makes you crave spicy or sweet foods. Today we are going to tell you how you can stop yourself from eating unnecessarily when you are not hungry.
1. Identify Your Triggers Through A Food Diary
A food diary is an effective way to identify your triggers. It is not true that a person overeats only when they are stressed out because people generally eat a good amount during birthdays, gatherings, weddings, and social parties. Keeping a record of what you have eaten and how your mood was at the time of eating helps you detect the reason behind the disturbed eating cycle. It helps you differentiate between physical hunger and emotional hunger.
2. Delay Your Grocery Store Trips
People under stress often please themselves with unhealthy food choices. They find comfort in eating. When you feel like you are craving a certain food item, try to delay your grocery store visits and indulge yourself in some other activity. One more thing you can do is to keep all the junk food away from your reach. This technique will help you cope with binge or emotional eating.
3. Try to Alternate Your Unhealthy Snacks
Snacks are an integral part of one’s daily routine. Snacks are usually considered as something unhealthy, but that is not true. Not every snack is unhealthy. In South Asian communities, people prefer snacking on samosas, dahi baray, nuggets, cakes, biscuits, and the list goes on. The best approach is to substitute your high-calorie snacks with low-calorie snacks. You can replace your sweet cravings with fruits, frozen fruit yogurt, whole wheat biscuits, and your savory cravings with air-fried nuggets, air-fried chips, etc.
4. Follow A Healthy Lifestyle To Avoid Emotional Eating
Lifestyle modification is necessary because when you’re physically (and mentally) strong, you’re better able to handle the curveballs that life inevitably throws your way. But, when you’re already exhausted and overwhelmed, even a little hiccup has enough potential to send you off the rails and straight towards the refrigerator. A healthy lifestyle, proper sleep, and a happy mood will help you get through difficult times without emotional eating. Try to exercise 5 times a week and sleep at least 8 hours followed by healthy eating choices.
5. Relieve Stress Through Different Activities
There are multiple activities that you can do to relieve stress. When you are under stress, your body releases a hormone called ‘Cortisol.’ This hormone maintains blood sugar levels as well as helps in fat and carbohydrate metabolism. An excess amount of cortisol can increase your appetite and make you crave sweet, high in fat, or spicy foods. Therefore, it is important to manage your stress via different activities. These activities include calling your friends, book reading, driving, playing sports like badminton, and so on. However, we admit it is not easy to divert your attention from food. It takes quite a long time to engage yourself in other activities.
We hope that these 5 techniques are going to be beneficial for you. Even if you follow any one of them, you will hopefully notice a clear difference. So what are you waiting for? Go, try them, and become your healthiest self.
Disclaimer: Please consult a specialist/healthcare provider as this article merely serves as a guide