Say NO to Emotional Eating During the Ongoing Pandemic
People worldwide are turning to comfort foods and developing emotional eating habits during the present pandemic situation. Even international health organizations are suggesting that increased levels of stress among individuals are the primary cause of abnormal eating habits. Excessive eating is a natural coping mechanism triggered by the body.
If you find yourself running towards the kitchen and pantry when you are stressed out or upset, then you are indulging in emotional eating. Getting comfort from overeating may offer temporary relief from negative feelings, but it is not a permanent solution.
Let us reflect over some great suggestions from expert nutritionists and healthcare specialists and learn why the pattern of emotional eating is an unhealthy practice:
- Overeating offers short-term or temporary happiness. It cannot make your worries disappear.
- According to scientific research, after an emotional eating session, you may feel worse than better.
- After some days of emotional eating, you may gain weight and increase your risk of getting chronic diseases like diabetes and high blood pressure.
What is the cause of emotional imbalance in people?
In today’s times, the COVID-19 pandemic is causing a lot of stress, financial worries, and even health issues due to a sedentary (lockdown) lifestyle. From children to older individuals, stress is an issue that affects everyone. Although, studies have proved that emotional eating syndrome is more common in women as compared to men.
Why the need for more food?
Food is known to fill an emotional void that is built in the body due to negative emotions. Food creates an imaginary feeling of fullness. Food may soon take the place of social support and other normal activities that can relieve you from sad feelings and stress. Soon the lines may blur and you may not distinguish between physical hunger and emotional hunger. Food can become your only solace, very much like an addiction. You may find it hard to stop the binging episodes and a cycle of regular emotional eating can be formed. This can change your cortisol levels and lead to cravings that develop as soon as you are anxious or stressed.
Feeling stressed unleashes a certain type of hormones that makes people crave sugary or high-fat food and pushes them slowly towards overeating. According to American psychological society research and study, 34% of people admit to overeating whenever they feel tense and that it can become a compulsive habit.
How to stop the habit of binge eating when the world is facing a global health pandemic?
- Understand your pattern – When you get to the root cause of emotional eating, you can study a certain pattern to it. Note down what actually causes you to binge eat. Be it stress, anxiety, depression, or even boredom; understand your psychology. Learn to cope with the issue by seeking social support, online therapy, or talking to your loved ones.
- Are you hungry – Ask yourself whenever you start eating whether your body requires those extra calories. Stock nutritious foodstuffs that don't scream sugar or junk. For instance, choose a fat-free yogurt instead of a creamy ice-cream. Note the time after every meal, maintain at least a three-hour interval after every meal or snack.
- Get creative – Start doing something you really love to dispel the blues. The pandemic may be making you anxious, but, the lockdown can bring out the creative artist in you. Take up a long-lost hobby such as painting, drawing, writing, or singing. Be active on the social platform, share your activities with others.
- Make it difficult – It is difficult to quit habits but it is not impossible. If you have been binge eating for a few days, try to put an end to the forming habit. Stop buying the eatery items you crave while at home. If your favorite snacks are not there in your pantry or fridge, you may slowly cut down on binge eating.
- Get restful sleep – Health experts say that if you can get quality sleep of 7 to 8 hours, you may be able to deal better with your overeating habits. Drink a glass of milk before bedtime, so that you do not feel hungry. You can even meditate or take a little walk in nature to induce a good night's sleep.
You can approach a nutritionist on doctoruna.com to design a personalized meal plan so that you eat sensibly even within the confines of your home during the pandemic.