The relationship between food and emotions
We need food to function both physically and mentally, however what we eat and when we is controlled by many factors, emotions being one of them. We’ve all been there- just a handful of crisps, just a square of chocolate, just one more slice of cake, and before you now it you’ve demolished the whole lot.
By definition, emotional eating is ‘eating to satisfy your emotional needs, rather than to satisfy physical hunger’.
Emotions are part of being human; we experience both positive and negative however its usually the negative that triggers emotional eating. Feeling stressed, angry, irritable, upset, sad, or lonely can cause us to seek comfort and we can often turn t food because its so readily available.
The phenomenon of emotional eating can strike at any time, particularly if we are going through a stressful or upsetting time in our lives. Food can provide comfort and for a short period of time seems to satisfy our needs, however it can be harmful to our physical and emotional health when used a ‘crutch’ for too long. Weight gain, depression, feelings of guilt and shame are but a few of the possible consequences of emotional eating.
We’ve put together a list of 5 supportive tips that will hopefully help you feel you are an emotional eater, however we must say that if you are struggling with your eating and its impacting on you mental health to seek professional advice from a healthcare professional or other supportive organisations.
Our packages take the stress out of meal times providing you with healthy food for the whole day.
Let yourself feel.
Instead of blocking emotions out, write down and try to come up with manageable ways to tackle them, away from the kitchen cupboards. In order to break the cycle of reaching for the ‘cookie jar’ when times get tough- swap it for another habit. Perhaps a walk in the park, a cup of herbal tea, or phoning a friend. Even just simply allowing time to pass will lessen that immediate urge to eat; even though cravings an be phenomenally powerful, they do pass often within minutes.
Experience pleasure- away from food.
Try to find pleasurable activities away from food when negative emotions strike. Run yourself a bath, partake in exercise, read a book, meditate, write, call a supportive influence in your life. Writing things down and talking to someone can make things seem a lot more manageable that they initially seemed, brightening your mod and potentially stopping you to seek out food as a distraction and act on impulse.
Know your triggers.
Is your commute taking its toll? Are your work deadline mounting up? Or is organising your home life a source of anxiety and stress? Whether it be simple everyday bug bears or something bigger- perhaps a family member us sick and requires your care or you ae going though a painful time in a relationship. Knowing your personal triggers and being mindful of these and your vulnerabilities can help you differentiate between physical and emotional hunger. Our packages can take the stress and anxiety out of eating and because they are nutritionally balance and calorie controlled; you know you are eating what your body needs and can therefore help you manage temptation and stay on track. Also if food is supportive; all the meals are delivered to you daily so it removes the stresses of planning, cooking and helps with that committee of indecision regarding food choices. Check our food packages at Pure Package.
Be wise with your nutrition.
Try to incorporate wholegrains, lean protein, healthy fats and lots of fruit and vegetables into every meal, remembering never to restrict yourself. These types of food are not only good for you but help you feel fuller for longer. Avoid pre-packaged and fortified food when possible, you should be able to obtain all of your nutrients from mesh meat, fruit and vegetables. Our packages provide you with a balanced plate at every meal time, keeping you satisfied throughout the day. Check out our healthy eating plan.
Be your own best friend.
We can all too often be our own worst enemy, but we need to be our own best friend. What would you say if you were to watch yourself through someone else’s eyes in your difficult moments- what advice and support would you give? Were often great at providing supportive and loving advice to others, try to be kinder to yourself and treat yourself like you would a loved one.
If you are struggling with these issues and find that you need further support and advice, we recommend that you speak with a registered professional or supportive organisation. There are many amazing sources of support out there.
Photo Credit: The Balance Diet Book by Jennifer Irvine, The Orion Publishing Group, available on Amazon.