September 18

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Emotional eating

By Chris

September 18, 2020


Nicole's frustrations started at a very young age. Her family wasn't very loving and at the tender age of 13, her friends made fun of her because of her big ears, which she could not hide. She felt less and less at ease in their company and she began to avoid them more and more often, listening to music alone and eating in an attempt to feel better (= emotional eating).

Unfortunately, a year later it was no longer just a problem of big ears, but also of weight. Feeling unloved, she had eaten so much that her weight exceeded 65 kilos for a height of 1.60 metres. And it stayed that way until the day she fell in love with a 20-year-old man who had had the same difficulties in his life. Together they finally managed to lose their excess weight and feel good about themselves.

Eating out of frustration

Eating out of frustration is a widespread phenomenon. The world is more beautiful and problems seem less important after a bar of chocolate. But the extra pounds weigh on your conscience and, above all, increase your weight - the beginning of a vicious circle.

However, when we are frustrated, we rarely crave for carrots, kohlrabi, apples or other foods that are good for your health. Nature has made it so that humans instinctively want to stock up on sugar and fat for a rainy day. And our body reacts to physical shortages in the same way as it does to psychological shortages or imbalances. Everything has a purpose and everything is connected.

"Eat to nourish your body, not your emotions"

Compensation

We all tend to compensate for boredom, loneliness, lack of affection, injustice or bullying at work, stress in the family, daily routines or any other frustration, with inappropriate food. Unfortunately, this does not solve our problems in the long run. On the contrary, it often leads to new problems, especially addictions that will become bad habits.

Approximately 25-30% of us are what we call emotional eaters. Some more, some less. One fact is certain and recognised by all: eating well gives pleasure and makes us feel good.

"Emotional eating does not cure emotional problems"

Emotional eating

In emotional eating, the natural interaction between being hungry and already full is neutralised, and food takes on a compensatory psychological function. The daily stress that we are confronted with forces us to look for a way to combat lack of recognition, acceptance and inner doubts. For some, this is where the emotional attachment to food begins.

"My food = my tranquilliser!"

What am I substituting by eating in this moment?

This feeling of not being able to control one's eating habits, of not being able to stop eating, is indescribable. It is certain that it is going to be quite difficult to change a habit that has been in place for years. But the good news is that you don't have to stop overnight. The important thing is that you become aware of what you want, what you do, how much you eat and how often and when you have these needs.

And if you feel like eating, do eat to start with, but try fruit, a small mixture of raisins and nuts or just a glass of water, instead of snacking on sugar- or salt loaded foods. I've often noticed that if I drink a little water, the hunger disappears. Thirst is very often mistaken for hunger.

"Food can distract you from your pain, but food cannot take away your pain.In fact, eating too much and often eating the wrong food creates more pain"

Reflection and introspection

Always try to reflect upon and understand your feelings before trying to balance any negativity with food. Ask yourself: how could I react differently to this situation?

Personally, I still often crave peanuts or cashews while working at the computer. It used to be sweets or chocolate. I used to have a whole drawer full of them! Luckily, I've managed to switch to a healthier diet and reduce both the quantities and the frequency.

How to stop emotional eating?

Above all, do not change radically, but take small steps. By regularly observing your food cravings and habits, think carefully about situations in which you take food unconsciously and repeatedly for emotional reasons. You can also take notes to help you better understand situations and emotions.

"Whatever your emotional problem is, the answer lies never in the fridge!"

Try to at least have healthy food on hand. Give in to the urge, but replace chocolate, ice cream, sweets or chips with fruit or food that is better suited to your constitution.

When your feelings are in a state of upheaval, if you can, go for a walk in a park or forest. Observe nature and animals. Take a deep breath and reorder your thoughts. We all tend to spiral down in negativity. Watch or do things to distract yourself that you enjoy, apart from eating, of course 😉

To learn more about small steps read this article and if you want to know your unique and individual constitution take the dosha-test.

Chris

About the author

Chris has been a mainframe programmer for almost 30 years. His interest in health, the body and meditation made him enrol in 2014 in a 2-year yoga teacher training course. His love for yoga began over 20 years ago. He has been starting his days with a series of yoga exercises, breathing and meditation ever since and his passion is to help others on a healthy journey. Since meeting his partner Karen, he has learnt to create websites and reach more audience. Life offers so many possibilities to study new areas, both geographically as well as intellectually, that he’s interested in just about everything. In 2018 he became a digital nomad to discover the world.

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