Stressed at work? Had a violent fight with your boyfriend? Failed to achieve something you’ve been working so hard for years? Sometimes, it seems everything conspires to make you feel down and blue. So what do you do? Most women are likely to overindulge in comfort eating to soothe negative emotions. If you tend to open the fridge and grab some ice cream or chocolate whenever you’re stressed, sad, or angry, then you’re prone to emotional eating. The strongest food cravings occur when you’re at your lowest emotional point.
Why people take comfort in comfort food
People usually give in to emotional eating when they’re going through a serious problem or when they want to ease or hold back negative emotions such as depression, loneliness, stress, anxiety, anger, and boredom. Women are more likely to binge than men under emotional distress, according to a recent breakthrough study conducted by the Brookhaven National Laboratory of the U.S. Department of Energy. The study further found that unlike men, women cannot control their appetite well when they’re depressed.
Emotional eating is not healthy especially for women, who tend to use food as a therapist during the distressing episodes of their lives. Overeating only puts weight loss efforts in vain. Not only does this poor eating habit ruin your body figure, it also increases your risk of getting sick. When you overeat, you consume high amounts of cholesterol, calories, fats, salt, and sugar. Too much intake of these elements in food can create more health problems over time.
But the good news is that you can do something to curb your urge to eat comfort foods. Controlling your unhealthy eating habits is possible even if you’ve been slave to your strong longing for food. Here are some strategies that you can use to control your eating habits.
Physical and emotional hunger are two different things
First, you must know the difference between physical and emotional hunger. Food is not the remedy to emotional hunger. Just because you’re craving for potato chips or ice cream, that doesn’t mean you are physically hungry.
Document your eating habits
Keeping a food journal can help you monitor your eating habits. You will need to write down the food you eat, the amount you eat, how often you eat, your feelings when you eat, and how hungry you are. After several weeks, you may track some patterns that show poor eating habits and the causes of emotional eating.
Get rid of junk foods
How can you stop binging on junk foods and other comfort foods with high-calorie content? Get rid of them. Easier said than done, eh? But if you’re serious to stop your emotional eating, this is one effective step that you can take. Rather than opening a pack of chocolates, you can turn to other things for comfort such as listening to music, watching movies, or meeting your friends. Keeping yourself distracted can easily put your mind off from eating whenever you feel stressed or depressed.
Have a healthy lifestyle
Finally, you should keep a healthy diet and do regular exercises. These two important health factors can do wonders to mood-related eating disorders by making your body fight stress and enhancing your mood.