How To Overcome Emotional Hunger?July 9, 2019
Do you come home after a hard day’s work and seize fatigue with chips, and stress – pizza or chocolate? So you are experiencing emotional hunger. Experts agree that it is normal when such a state sometimes occurs. However, if you do it often and out of habit, to stifle negative emotions, then not only your waistline but also your self-esteem will suffer! Regular consumption of too many calories leads to weight gain and generates guilt. What can be done to overcome emotional hunger? In our article, we will talk about how to overcome the habit of dealing with a stressful situation with food.
Psychology of Emotional Nutrition
Emotional hunger usually means overeating. According to doctors, 75% of cases of overeating are caused by emotions. Most people grab for a snack when they are tense, upset or worried. In addition, many of our holidays are centered around the table.
From a young age, we are comforted by food and have become accustomed to eating when we are not hungry. And often we crave exactly unhealthy food with a high content of carbohydrates and sugar. It increases the level of serotonin, which helps us feel better, calms and relaxes. Getting rid of emotional eating can be difficult, but it needs to be done primarily for your physical and mental health.
What is the difference between emotional hunger and physical
Emotional nutrition is caused by a number of factors, including stress and hormonal changes. There are four main indicators by which it is easy to determine the difference between emotional and physical hunger.
While true hunger manifests gradually, emotional eating habits arise suddenly. For example, 20 minutes ago you felt full and suddenly felt a strong hunger.
Physical hunger can satisfy any food (apple), and emotional – makes you crave for something special (for example, you want chocolate cake).
Satisfying physical hunger makes you feel better: you gave your body the “fuel” it needed. Satisfying emotional hunger makes you feel worse: you feel guilty, ashamed or sad. If you struggle every time with negative emotions when you eat, contact a psychologist you trust in to develop more healthy relationships with food and with yourself.
Degree of satiety
Physical hunger disappears if you have eaten enough, and emotional remains. That is, your interest in food disappears after you have eaten the usual portion, but emotional hunger persists and often leads to uncontrolled consumption of food.
Answer the questions of our quiz to see exactly whether you are experiencing emotional hunger:
- Do you eat more when you are stressed?
- Do you eat to calm down, or when you feel sad?
- Do you reward yourself with food?
- Do you feel that you are losing control over food?
If you answered “yes” to two or more questions, you are an emotional “eater”.
Overcoming emotional hunger
Here are some tips on how to break your eating habits and lose weight:
- Try to wait. Stretch 5-10 or even 30 minutes before eating. If you still feel hungry, you may actually need a snack. Some people find it helpful to focus on chewing 10 to 30 times before swallowing a piece of food.
- Keep a nutrition diary. Keep track of when and what you eat, what drinks you drink. Note whether your calories eaten are distributed throughout the day or concentrated at one particular time.
- Do not tempt yourself. Recall the three foods that you prefer to enhance your mood. Stop buying them and avoid them with all your might. Or refuse 1-2 products, buy a smaller portion of the third. So you can reduce the number of emotional meals per week, which ultimately will lead to deliverance from emotional hunger!
- Take a break. You can escape from thoughts of having something tasty to eat with a walk, call a friend, watch an interesting movie, read a good book/magazine, play with your dog or cat. You will be absorbed in what you are doing and will quickly forget about hunger.
- Follow a healthy diet. Try to add healthy snacks to your diet: fresh vegetables and fruits, popcorn and other low-calorie foods.
- Exercise. In especially tense moments of life, jogging in the open air, swimming or yoga can help.
Day after day, following our recommendations, you can quickly deal with bouts of emotional hunger and reduce the episodes of overeating!