If being asked, in one word, ‘how would you describe your bond with the food you eat’?
Well, if you ask me to choose between food and the world, I will go for amazing 'food and the rest of the world then my answer would be 'FOOD!
Food is good but eating your emotions? Umm should not be there.
To understand this, we need to separate the physical hunger from the emotional hunger for that first we need to find out
“What Are The 5 Major Signs To Look For If You Are An Emotional Eater?”
1) Stress: when you are super stressed or maybe you want to have a cry or may be while you are PMSing (Premenstrual Syndrome) your immediate thought is to grab your favourite food and move on, right?
2) Cycle of Guilt or Shame:
3) Negative body image: Whenever you look yourself in the mirror, you frown and feel disgusted by your body.
4) Displacement of emotions: Not understanding or acknowledging the stress or negative emotion you might be feeling rather throwing it under a carpet and putting a lot of food over the top. This leads to confusion, better physical hunger and emotional hunger.
5) Wrongly placed Childhood rewards: Whenever your parents wanted something from you be it as small as for following a routine, like finishing a lunch or dinner, or may be when you had an outing with your parents rather than giving you their attention they fixed it by giving you lots of food to eat, so much that it took almost a decade to finish that plate? Meanwhile, they did lots of shopping. During your teenage years your mom or dad was so fixated with their midlife crisis that whatever she baked or he did not have time for play with you.
Plus, if after you finished eating, did you hear yourself say I had too much food’?
All these create a specific diet culture for you.
Food culture which has become out of control for you and you don’t know how to break it? Worries not…let us have a brief review about it.
Well, most of these things happened with people I know, who are the emotional eater and then their parents worry what went wrong. Well, here I won’t be discussing dysfunctional parenting rather, only the root cause of emotional eating…
That stress, displacement of emotions you could not understood and tried to fill that emptiness you felt in your heart with the food. Then you eat your emotions not just food which is harmful because your body is accumulating the negative emotions in the form of high amount of stress hormone, cortisol in the blood.
Have you ever stopped and thought what if I listen to myself how it feels to cry, angry, sad or embarrassed? Of course, you have but seriously, look in the mirror and talk to yourself and let yourself feel that big overwhelming emotion, pour it down through tears or by talking nonstop, talk that talk you want. Do it now!!!
• Being aware of your emotions is a good thing and acknowledging them is another positive step. Trust me; listening to yourself is the best gift you can give to yourself. Rest will happen by itself.
Physical hunger can be easily confused with emotional hunger. This thin line can be easily understood and for that, next time before you eat do the following steps in order:
1. Wash your hands for at least 10 seconds.
2. Look in the mirror, how healthy you are, be thankful!
3. Wipe your hands.
4. Go to your dinner table/place.
5. There should be no distraction between you and your food, no screen time.
6. While chewing food, appreciate the taste and smell of food. It is yummy right?
7. Take small portions of food items you want and chew every bite for at least 20 times.
These steps when followed in exact order create a healthy cycle of breaking the bond between your emotions and allow you to eat mindfully.
Maintaining a Food Diary
It’s like writing a story for yourself and what you love and what triggers you to eat. To maintain a food diary, you just need a simple dairy and a pen.
This is like a log which you maintain and trust me after few months; you will see a pattern emerging. That very pattern will tell you where you went off course, and what the most triggering factor is. Which emotion makes you go crazy on yourself? Also, if you have followed the above mentioned 5 steps before you eat then, you can also see an improvement is your emotional eating episodes.
And if you are in therapy or want to consult a doctor, this diary can be a useful tool to share.
So many useful things with just a simple diary and a pen ��
Ask for Help.
Some of us feel little embarrassed while asking for help, which is alright till something gets so overwhelming that you are just not able to handle that singlehandedly. Asking help from someone you trust means you are strong enough to analyze the situation and want it to be better for yourself. There are online support forms too where anonymously you can share your experiences which can help you or someone like you can be helped.
I believe if you eat; food with good emotions in your mind then all is well.
Be Happy Anyway :)