Are you an emotional eater? How to support healthy eating by Goodhealth

Are you an emotional eater? How to support healthy eating

Tháng Mười Một 14, 2023

Whether it is because you are feeling stressed, tired, lonely, bored, or even happy; emotional eating happens when we use food to encourage or reinforce positive emotions to make ourselves feel good - eating to satisfy emotions rather than physical hunger. Experts suggest that 75% of overeating is caused by an attempt to satisfy our emotions. Most of us know what, when and how much we should be eating, but many of us find our emotions can be stronger than our willpower.

5 signs you may be emotionally eating

  1. You eat when you are not physically hungry – eating past full and ignoring your body’s signals or using food as an emotional coping mechanism.
  2. You find it hard to find food that satisfies you.
  3. You find yourself mindlessly eating – you may not enjoy or taste the food because you are eating without thinking or without being mindful.
  4. When experiencing heightened emotions, you tend to have stronger or more intense cravings.
  5. When you are wanting to improve your mood, you look for more comforting, convenience foods.

5 ways to support healthy eating

  1. Fill your kitchen with nourishing foods

Eat wholefoods that nourish your body and mind. Wholefoods are full of nutrients that help support our overall health and wellbeing. Choose foods for their nutritional content: animal foods are nutrient-dense and with more bioavailable vitamins and minerals than plant foods, so focus on these. Plant foods contain varying levels of defense chemicals that can interfere with digestive and immune function, so choose plant foods that work for you, and learn how to detoxify things like wholegrains, seeds, and beans, the way that traditional cultures have.

      2. Eat a whole food, seasonal, and local diet (and hopefully organic)

Humans need animal fats and proteins (there are no traditional cultures in the world that do not prioritise some form of animal sourced food), and the appropriate amount of carbohydrates for your activity level to make up a nutrient-rich and fulfilling diet. If your diet is too restrictive this could encourage emotional eating or make it harder to manage your emotional eating and willpower. Food should come from as close to you as possible and be in season. Organic foods are often only available seasonally and therefore are great to choose. If in doubt, supplements can also be a helpful way to ensure you are getting the nutrients your body needs to function at its best.

      3. Support your blood sugar levels

Blood sugar imbalances lead to cravings which can make healthy eating that little bit harder to support. Chromium and white mulberry leaf are key nutrients that support satiety, and the botanical Garcinia Cambogia also supports balance blood sugar balance and even supports mood and healthy serotonin levels.

      4. Eat mindfully

Eating mindfully means slowing down, expressing gratitude for, and being satisfied with, the food we are eating, and paying attention to why and how we eat. A simple commitment to appreciate, respect and above all enjoy the food you eat every day. This may also include getting closer to the source of your foods, whether that be going to a farmer’s market or the farm, or just knowing where your food comes from.

     5. Disconnect food from your reward or ‘feel good’ system

It is important to disconnect food from your reward system and start rewarding yourself with other fulfilling activities rather than eating food; for example, catching up with a friend, having a massage, or take a relaxing bath. Try viewing food as nourishment and fuel rather than part of your emotional response. It doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy good food, just find a balance.

When supporting healthy eating it is important to listen to your body and acknowledge your body’s signals to eat when you are hungry and to stop eating before you become over-full. Be patient and kind with yourself as you explore, discover, and support healthy eating.