Jenny Miremadi, a nutritionist at the Mayo Clinic, admits that emotional overeating is on the rise because of the pandemic. And, unfortunately, the acquired habit is often accompanied by harsh self-criticism, which makes it difficult to get rid of a harmful addiction.
“You can not face a problem of feeling guilty and blaming yourself for giving up again,” explains Dr. Miremandi. When you realize that emotional eating has become part of your life, you are getting a message from your body that it is time to treat yourself in a new way. This is not a sign of weakness or zero self-control, but an opportunity to learn to understand your body and recognize emotions. I agree, it is unfair for your body to demand-use-neglect-judge constantly and in return to stingy love and care.
Getting rid of emotional overeating takes time and understanding the psychological conditions for the habit that has arisen. Success will not come overnight – prepare yourself for a prolonged battle, not with yourself, but with the trigger of the stress that started the “comforting” strategy of overeating. Here are the main settings for troubleshooting.
1. Learn to distinguish hunger from the desire to chew
Challenge number one is to reconnect with our innate ability to recognize hunger by paying attention to real, not imaginary, emotion-based slogans. You know very well that when you are hungry, the body gives clear signs: your stomach growls, appetizing images appear in your brain, you feel a physical collapse, a lack of energy. To reconnect with your natural appetite, whenever you feel the urge to snack, scan your body for hunger. If there is no physical evidence, wait, do not eat. Drink a glass of water, distract yourself, change activities. It may be difficult at first, but it’s worth it to get rid of overeating.
2. Provide a complete diet plan
Love yourself enough to eat fresh, healthy foods that contain important vitamins and nutrients. The insidious stress is that the hormone cortisol produced by a restless body stimulates the appetite and promotes fat deposition. Once you eat something tasty (fatty, sweet), your blood glucose level rises, starting energy production and raising your mood. Hence the temptation to “throw” some carbs quickly, without waiting for a full meal. An hour later the desire for snacking reappears, continuing the vicious cycle. By neglecting a balanced menu in a program, you accustom your body to dependence on fast carbohydrates, which will sooner or later lead to chronic overeating.
3. Identify the factors that cause overeating
Once you understand what causes emotional overeating, you can find alternative ways to deal with this trigger that have nothing to do with food. Keeping a food diary is a powerful tool to help you dig deeper and identify the root causes. Write honestly and in detail what you ate during the day, when and under what conditions, what emotions you experienced, were you hungry or did you not feel appetite.
In this way, you will be able to recognize not only the stressful trigger of emotional overeating, but also the social reason: for example, you often eat out for company, because it is difficult for you to refuse the treat offered by relatives / Colleagues. Or you are used to eating not only stress but also boredom – when you spin like a squirrel on a wheel all day and at night / weekends you do not know what to do. Multitasking is prone to overeating, making it difficult to watch a movie without snacks, and socializing with friends is unthinkable without snacks. Another option is the reluctance to do something when a craving for procrastination supports procrastination: I will start cleaning / article / work, just eating.
4. Do not chew the emotions, but live them.
Negative emotions are fun without joy. No one wants to experience anger, sadness, pain, longing, loneliness. But if for some reason these feelings have formed in your soul, they must be accepted. Do not avoid, do not oppress, do not grab, but survive. By using food, especially tasty food, to alleviate the emotions you feel, you program your body to overeat each time you experience a feeling you do not like.
To prevent a forced overeating habit or to get rid of it if it has arisen, do not forbid yourself uncomfortable feelings. Feel sorry if you are upset, feel sorry for yourself if you are tired, angry if you are offended, cry if you are upset. This is how you learn not only to love yourself by accepting what you eat and exercising awareness of the moment, but also by building a healthy relationship with food.
To overcome difficult times in life, learn soothing practices. Breathing techniques, yoga / Pilates, meditation, watercolor painting, daily walks – try to focus on daily activities that support the nervous system. If you can not get rid of the problem of emotional overeating on your own, do not hesitate to seek help from a specialist. Your main task is to restore the harmony of soul and body. Praise yourself for perseverance and try different tools to solve it. -0-