For us humans it’s not rare that we let our emotions take over our mind and eating habits. Occasionally picking up food for improving mood swings or to celebrate an occasion isn’t a bad idea until it starts to become a habit on a daily basis.
Generally, eating becomes the first coping up action for our stress and unpleasant emotions which lands us up in an unhealthy cycle as one ends up eating more unnecessary calories further making us feel guiltier. Such eating habits impact not only our mind but also our body and its functioning. Moreover, emotional eating can’t be fulfilled and will have negative impact in the long run since our mind and our body are connected and we are what we eat.
Even though one might feel powerless in front of food, but one can always start with a positive change as the saying goes “better late than never”.
One can always find alternatives and healthier options for coping up with emotions like taking up a physical activity like Zumba or Yoga or even doodling for that matter helps as these initiates to release the happy hormone serotonin in our body.
Here are few tips to find out if you are eating emotionally-
- Emotional eating comes up suddenly and you think it’s required as soon as possible.
- It makes you feel guilty in the end because you know deep down you have given the body some unwanted unhealthy calories
- It makes you focus more on the aroma, texture and taste of the food
- Even after stuffing good quantity of food you are not satisfied and would want some more.
- While one is emotionally hungry, he craves for junk, sugary or fried foods like pizza and donuts, which isn’t true for a physically hungry stomach, because when one is physically hungry, he would be content even with healthy foods like Roti and vegetables.
Certain factors which are most common are-
- An unpleasant experience of losing a close one or experiencing some difficult phase of life
- Unhappy with professional life which brings the individual in the state of stress for which he gets into a habit of certain foods like junk food or drinking
- Certain childhood habits like parents appreciating a good performance in school by presenting the child with sweets or ice creams, such habits have a tendency to get carry forwarded later into the adult life of the individual where withdrawing from such behavior then becomes difficult to cope up with.
- Day to day life stress which the individual is not able to cope up with for which he finds the rescue by binge eating over the junk food.
Eating mindfully not only helps one physically but even emotionally, here are certain tips that can help you to follow mindful eating pattern-
- Before having the meals take 8- 10 deep breaths that can calm your mind and cool down your digestive system, preparing it to digest the food properly.
- Further choose a place which is calm and non-disturbing so it’s peaceful while you’re eating your meals.
- You can keep a track of time or even put up a timer if required and allot good 20 minutes for completing the whole meal.
- At first take little less than required portions of the meal in the plate, afterwards you may take it again if you don’t feel satiated with the portion size, this way you avoid the tendency of overeating.
- Take small bites of food at a time so that the food is well chewed aiming at noticing the flavors and texture of the food, take good amount of time to chew the food so that when you are full the stomach can signal the brain and overeating can be avoided.
- You can stop eating when you feel you are 90- 95% full, as the stomach takes time to signal the brain for being full, so this way there is no intake of extra calories.
- When you are done take 2 minutes to asses if you are still hungry and want that dessert or extra serving of the food.
These are certain tips that can help in one in practicing mindful eating which is not only healthy mentally but physically as well.