Do you find yourself looking for something to eat each time you feel upset or down in the dumps? If the answer is yes, you are most probably practicing emotional eating and not eating a balanced diet. Eating for comfort is something many people indulge in to suppress their negative feelings. If this happens regularly, it can lead to several health problems down the lane. This cycle of excess emotional eating has been associated with weight gain by medical professionals all across the world. It is essential to switch to healthy eating and a balanced diet to stay healthy. This is why healthy eating habits for kids are essential.
Identifying Emotional Triggers
People can be categorized into two categories based on whether they eat for energy or if they eat because of their negative feelings. Based on the triggers that lead to detrimental eating habits, emotional eaters can be categorized as follows:
- The Anxious Eater
The anxious eater reaches out for food each time they experience stress and anxiety. They feel that eating food will help them calm down. When your stress levels increase, your body overproduces cortisol which leads to salt cravings. Anxious eaters often find themselves eating food high in salt content and avoid healthy food. High-calorie foods result in dopamine production which tricks your brain into believing that eating those extra snacks helped calm you down. Adapting just 5 good eating habits will help you get through this and stop binging on food when you feel anxious.
- The Perfectionist Eater
Perfectionists often have unrealistic goals in life. When they attempt to diet, this often leads to falling off the wagon repeatedly. When this happens, they tend to binge eat to get over their disappointment. The perfectionist eater needs to learn how to identify their internal hunger cues and adopt a healthy diet plan rather than setting unrealistic diet habit goals.
- The Comfort Eater
A comfort eater can be defined as a person who eats when they are sad and then becomes happy. This is because they treat food as a source of comfort and a reward. When your emotions and diet are not in check, you will find yourself eating for comfort more than usual. Comfort eaters tend to eat more carbs and not practice healthy eating habits. Carbohydrates encourage the body to produce serotonin which helps you to calm down and feel happy. Keeping a Bengal gram salad will help you overcome your comfort eating habits the next time you feel sad. A healthy diet is a key to overcoming comfort eating.
- The Zombie Eater
If you have been neglecting sleep and depending on caffeine and sugar to get through your days, you are probably a zombie eater. Your body will start working on autopilot and prevent you from healthy eating and good food habits. Sleep-deprived people need to be on a healthy diet plan to avoid overloading glucose and caffeine.
Signs Of Comfort Eating
Eating when you are hungry is a natural response to hunger. If you aren't sure whether you are comfort-eating or listening to your body's internal cues, here are a few signs to look out for:
- Do you change your eating habits when you are stressed out or feel unhappy?
- Do you eat even when you are full or don't feel hungry?
- Do you start eating to avoid stressful situations?
- Does eating help soothe your feelings?
- Do you avoid healthy food and healthy eating habits?
- Do you use food as a reward after a hard day?
- Does your healthy diet go for a toss when you feel stressed?
If you answered yes to two or more of the above questions, you probably use food as a way to avoid stress and negative feelings. Comfort eaters do not consider healthy foods to eat every day, leading them to indulge in high-calorie food, junk food, and so on.Humans need to eat in order to survive. So, you might be wondering how you can distinguish between your true hunger pangs and your emotional cues for food. According to medical professionals, you need to pay more attention to when your hunger pangs appear. It is also essential to keep a close eye on your emotional feelings after you have eaten. If you feel happier than usual after eating, it is time to adopt healthy eating habits. With weight loss recipes like khichdi recipes, you will soon be able to eat healthily.
Causes behind Comfort Eating
Emotional eating or comfort eating is often caused by a combination of several factors rather than a single factor. Studies have shown that females are at a higher risk for eating disorders like comfort eating compared to males. Interestingly, men tend to turn to food when they feel depressed or angry, whereas women turn to food for comfort as a result of a failing diet. They tend to avoid healthy eating and healthy food which can be detrimental to their health.The human body produces cortisol when you experience stress. This triggers your flight-or-fight response and also increases your appetite. People who are in a constant state of stress tend to have high cortisol levels in their bodies and do not have good food habits. When you start connecting food with comfort and positive feelings you will adapt eating habits that help fill your emotional void. Mindless eating can be detrimental to healthy eating habits. The next time you feel like binge eating, indulge in a Classic Boiled Egg Sandwich rather than overloading on carbs.
Tips to Stop Comfort Eating
Since emotional hunger does not get quelled by eating, you tend to overindulge which leads to various medical issues as well as excessive weight gain. The only way you can break this cycle is by addressing your emotional needs and starting a healthy diet and healthy eating. The following tips may come in handy to stop comfort eating and switch to good eating habits.
Other Ways to Cope with Stress
Since comfort eaters use food as a way of dealing with their stress, the first step is to find different ways to cope with stress. Stress can come in many forms. Some people feel stressed out over different things like problems at work, difficult relationships, death in the family, or a sudden change recently. Learning how to deal with this stress is crucial in leading a healthy and happy life. You can find different activities like reading, journaling, indulge in some me-time, etc. Once you find other ways to cope with stress, you can introduce healthy eating habits into your life and get back on the healthy track.
- Keep Moving: Research has shown that physical movement or exercise is a great de-stressing activity. If you find yourself feeling stressed out over something, take a quick walk around the block or break out a few moves to some music. Yoga has also been proven to be a great way to help keep your stress levels in check.
- Try Meditation: Meditation is a great way to take your mind off negative thoughts. In fact, studies have shown that meditation has been successfully used to treat emotional eating as well as binge-eating disorder. Meditating for a little while will help you get your thoughts in order. With meditations and a healthy diet, you can soon put a stop to comfort eating.
- Keep a Food Diary: Keeping a log of everything you have eaten as well as your emotional feeling may help identify your triggers. Although it may seem challenging, a food diary is a great way to find out when you are overeating and what you were feeling in those moments.
At the end of the day, healthy eating and keeping your stress levels low plays an important role in putting a stop to emotional eating or comfort eating. If you are finding it extremely difficult to stop binging on food, you may need to visit a medical professional for further help. They will help you get back to healthy eating in no time.