Emotional Eating -Raisa Mehzabeen


Some days are just upsetting. Maybe for some reason, or for no reason at all. The mind does not even bother to listen to favorite books, series or songs. What can be done to get rid of this bad feeling is no longer found. Forgetting this feeling, many people lean towards food. Then it seems that eating any food that is sweet or fried in oil will only make you feel good, and nothing else. Indoors or outdoors, wherever you are from, it seems that you have to eat that food. And there is no need to have food apps and discounts to order at hand. Food that comes to hand at the moment.

Eating emotionally in this way is called emotional eating. From work stress, financial problems, relationship tensions to a variety of negative emotions to soothe the various comfort foods. This appetite is different from physical appetite. It has more to do with our brain than the stomach.
What is the difference between mental hunger and physical hunger?

I woke up in a hurry to eat something out of emotion. It seems that if I do not eat this food my mind will not get relieved! On the other hand, physical hunger does not get hot. Slowly and sometime after the previous meal. And at this time there is no feeling of special need to eat any special food. Another characteristic of emotional eating is the desire to eat only sweet or oily salty foods at this time. He doesn’t even want to think about eating any healthy food. On the other hand, it does not seem so during general hunger. Physical hunger can be satisfied by eating any moderate food. It is seen that people eat a lot of food to satisfy their hunger. The matter of quantity does not work in the head then. But this is not the case when eating food to satisfy normal hunger. Although emotional eating is to get rid of the bad mood, after eating like this, satisfaction does not come, but a kind of guilt starts working in the mind. In many cases, self-loathing also comes. But in order to satisfy the normal hunger, satisfaction is found at the end of the game, a kind of feeling of well-being is created in the body.

How do you know if you are an emotional eater?

To find out if you are also used to emotional eating, ask yourself these questions:

l Do you eat more when you suffer from stress?
l Do you want to eat even if your stomach is full?
l Do you eat food to make your mind better or to calm your mind?
l Do you eat any food as a reward for your good deeds?
l Do you eat even after satisfying your hunger?
l Do you lose control of yourself when you see food?

If the answer to these questions is ‘yes’, then you eat food to satisfy emotions, not for the body. You are an ’emotional eater’.

Why this emotional eating?

As the name implies, this problem is related to emotions. Researchers have identified some of the factors that affect emotional eating. These are-
l Stress – Just as people sometimes forget about food when they are under stress, stress also suddenly arouses hunger. When you suffer from stress, the body starts producing a stress hormone called cortisol. And the effect of that cortisol awakens in the brain a strong desire to eat sweet, salty, fried food. To meet that, people start eating uncontrollably.
l Emotion relief – not all emotions or feelings are happy. Many take the help of food to control the bad guys. Unable to bear the burden of various negative emotions such as anger, fear, sadness, loneliness, shame, etc., he takes the help of food to blunt them. It seems that these will be lost if you pay attention to food.

To get rid of boredom – boredom starts from not feeling good about doing something. Frustration, changing the taste in the mouth by wanting to cut off this feeling of everything feeling dirty. Many people resort to emotional eating to get rid of the deep dissatisfaction and depression of the mind by eating delicious food.

Childhood Habits – Many parents rewarded their children for good deeds with food. Many parents have a tendency to cook sweets and ice cream if they get good results, or to give up any bad habits. In this way, the matter of food is associated with those happy memories of childhood. So many people who suffer from nostalgia or want to get back to their childhood happiness want to get back to the old days by eating those foods.

Relationship of Emotional Eating with Diet

Emotional eating usually refers to a condition in which someone is hungry or someone is feeling hungry all the time. It has a deep relationship with diet. E.g.

1. If the amount of carbohydrates is high: If your diet is high in carbohydrates, low in protein and fat, which reduces our appetite, then the amount of insulin in the blood increases. As a result, you will continue to feel hungry again and again.
2. Sleep deprivation: When a person sleeps less, the amount of Ghrelin hormone in their blood increases which increases the feeling of hunger in the body and the amount of hormone leptin (which reduces the feeling of hunger) decreases. As a result, he is hungrier.
3. Drinking less water: Water keeps our stomachs full and reduces the feeling of hunger. Many people mistake the feeling of thirst for water with the feeling of hunger and eat more. This is especially the case with children.
4. Eating less fibrous foods: Eating more fibrous foods releases the hormone of satiety. As a result, the feeling of hunger decreases. If there is less fiber in the diet, you get hungry quickly.
5. If we are inattentive during meals: The habit of reading books, looking at mobile phones, being busy at work etc. during meals disrupts our food satisfaction. As a result hunger is felt quickly.
6. If there is a lot of liquid food in the diet: If someone eats liquid food all day, such as soups, juices, smoothies, etc., then you will often feel hungry.
7. Eating food fast: Eating food slowly and chewing it more often gives more time to the body and brain. The body produces anti-hunger hormones, so you will feel satisfied and less hungry. The opposite happens when you eat fast food.

How to control emotional eating?

After learning about this habit of eating under the influence of emotions, you naturally need to know how to get rid of it. For this, you have to accept this bad aspect of yourself first. You need to figure out what works behind your emotional eating. Then we have to bring a change in lifestyle. The ways to get out of this habit are-

l Relieve Negative Emotions in a Healthy Way: Remember, food is never the solution to anything, it’s just your body’s fuel. You can never really get rid of bad or negative emotions by eating any food, and it is important to find alternatives. Other ways to get rid of clutter, such as reading a good book, learning something new, etc., can be a way to relieve your stress.

l Exercise: Exercise can be a way to get rid of your mental fatigue and negative thoughts. When you start taking care of your body, your self-love will increase and your self-confidence will increase. By doing this you will become more aware of food unknowingly.

l Yoga: Many studies have shown a positive relationship between yoga and peace of mind. Regular yoga keeps bad thoughts and emotions away from the mind and keeps the mind calm. Feelings of calm do not need to be controlled with food.

l Write down what you are eating: If you do not have control over your diet, start keeping a diary of daily meals. Write down what you eat there, when you eat it, and how much you eat. This will allow you to see what your mental state was like at what time and how much you ate then.

l Eat a balanced and nutritious diet regularly: Eat enough at all times, and make sure no essential nutrients are left out. Eating the right amount of food every time reduces the rate of overeating due to the effects of emotional eating. And if you get hungry at the wrong time, you should eat a healthy breakfast.

l Avoid unhealthy foods: Emotional eating usually involves a desire for sweet or oily foods. Chocolate, ice cream, biscuits, chips, etc. are eaten a lot at this time. So you have to keep this kind of food at home as little as possible. In addition, if you have a habit of ordering food from various food ordering apps, you should stay away from it.

l Keep track of how much you eat: No matter how hungry you are, all foods have a certain amount. If you have a problem with emotional eating, always keep track of how much you eat. After eating a certain amount of food, your body will tell you when to stop. Try to understand that signal and then stop eating.

l If necessary, seek the help of others: As happiness has to be shared, sorrow has to be shared with others. People usually eat emotionally when they are mentally disturbed. And it is often difficult to control food alone. So try to regain control with the help of someone nearby. This will make it a little easier to overcome this problem.

l Focus on food, not anything else: Studies have shown that if you are busy with other activities while eating, the level of food intake increases. When you are not busy on TV, YouTube or phone screen, just focus on food while eating. This will increase the control over the level of food, and you will realize for yourself that you are not eating to satisfy the hunger of the body, you are doing emotional eating to satisfy the hunger of the mind.

l Seek expert help: If you can’t control your food intake in any way, you need expert help. Following the advice of a nutritionist or psychologist can try to get out of this habit.

Eating extra and unhealthy foods is not a solution to keep the mind good, keep bad thoughts and emotions away. So before solving the problem, we have to find out where it started

The author of this article is a BSC (honor’s) student at Govt. College of Applied Human Science, Department of Food and Nutrition.