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Experts Reveal What Triggers Emotional Eating And How To Control It

Eating Distract from Emotions

We often associate eating with relief or even excitement, and it’s only natural that we’d reach for those same feelings when we’re worried or sad.

Events don’t have a meaning; we give them a meaning. The meaning of eating is, ‘I’m going to be happy. I’m not going to be in emotional discomfort. I’ll have this wonderful experience.

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Experts Reveal What Triggers Emotional Eating And How To Control It

Experts Reveal What Triggers Emotional Eating And How To Control It

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/emotional-eating-triggers_l_5c61c803e4b028d543169e60

huffpost.com

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Key Ideas

Eating Distract from Emotions

We often associate eating with relief or even excitement, and it’s only natural that we’d reach for those same feelings when we’re worried or sad.

Events don’t have a meaning; we give them a meaning. The meaning of eating is, ‘I’m going to be happy. I’m not going to be in emotional discomfort. I’ll have this wonderful experience.

Why we choose comfort food

Comfort foods don’t tend to be healthy. We want cake or pasta or chips when we’re emotionally eating. We have emotional memories around certain foods, which are more likely to involve your grandma’s lasagna than a salad. 

But after we eat for emotional reasons, we’re replacing our original feelings with the emotions that arise out of eating.

Comfort food

We associate comfort food with positive memories.

Think about all the happy and comforting memories you have involving food. Maybe your family used to celebrate occasions with a trip to the ice cream shop, or maybe your mom or dad used to soften the blow of a bad day with macaroni and cheese. When you’re feeling rejected or anxious today, eating one of those foods is an instant connection to that soothing time.

Control emotional eating

  • Remember food’s true purpose ― to nourish you. 
  • Seek comfort through friends, doing kind things for yourself and engaging in healthy activities that reduce internal distress.
  • As soon as you start looking for food, stop. Think, ‘Am I hungry? Do I need food in my stomach, or is one of my triggers going off? What do I need right now?
  • Jot down what you’re eating when and taping that note to the fridge, in order to recognize a pattern in what you eat, when you eat it and why. 

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Why food

Negative emotions may lead to a feeling of emptiness or an emotional void. 

Food is believed to be a way to fill that void and create a false feeling of “

Emotional vs. true hunger

Physical hunger

  • It develops slowly over time.
  • You desire a variety of food groups.
  • You feel the sensation of fullness and take it as a cue to stop eating.
  • You have no negative feelings about eating.

Emotional hunger

  • It comes about suddenly or abruptly.
  • You crave only certain foods.
  • You may binge on food and not feel a sensation of fullness.
  • You feel guilt or shame about eating.

Emotional hunger isn’t easily quelled

While filling up could work in the moment, eating because of negative emotions often leaves people feeling more upset than before.

This cycle typically doesn’t end until a person addresses emotional needs head-on.

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Complex Carbohydrates

Complex carbohydrates are found in fiber and starch and are beneficial for brain health as they release glucose slowly into our system, helping stabilize our mood. Simple carbohydr...

Antioxidants

Our cells generate energy through oxidation, but oxidation also reduces the dopamine and serotonin in the brain and creates oxidative stress.

Antioxidants found in brightly colored foods like fruits and vegetables act as a defense against oxidative stress and inflammation in the brain and body. Antioxidants also repair oxidative damage and scavenge free radicals that cause cell damage in the brain. 

Omega 3

Omega 3 are polyunsaturated fatty acids that are involved in the process of converting food into energy. They are important for the health of the brain and the communication of its feel-good chemicals dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine.

Omega 3 are essential nutrients that are not readily produced by the body, so we must include foods high on it in our diet. 

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Acknowledge your weight gain fears 

Besides the health and economic crises we are facing, there are individuals who, due to the media, are also fighting their own fears to gain weight during the quarantine. 

One of the mos...

Control your eating habits, quarantine or not

Everybody seems worried that, during the ongoing pandemic, they will gain weight. 

However, a recent review has shown that individuals tend to gain the weight back after a diet in less than five years, even during regular times. Therefore, quarantine or not, you should pay attention to your eating habits, if you want to have a certain weight.

Emotional eating

While quarantined at home, we all have the tendency to eat foods that trigger that feeling of safety and happiness, that only by consuming these vary foods we can experience. 

As nice as this idea might sound, you should also try sleeping or spending virtual time with your friends, as these can work wonders as well.

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