We have all had to deal with challenging situations recently. The COVID-19 global pandemic has meant us spending a lot more time in our homes, without a filled up calendar of activities to keep us healthy, fit and positive. Dealing with added stress when living in unsure times, it’s easy to turn to food as a way to cope.
Fattening foods such as sugar and salt filled snacks and fried fast foods are often what we turn to when we are stressed, anxious, or simply bored! You only have to look at the long lines in the KFC and McDonalds Drive Thrus when we went to llevel 3 to see comfort eating in action!
Has your diet worsened this year and is your health suffering as your waist band widens?
Now that New Zealand is in level one and there are no limitations on how we spend our time across the country, it’s time for positive thinking and action! Shed those kilos by improving your eating behaviours and also show excessive sugary or savoury snacks and other unhealthy comfort foods the exit.
What Causes Emotional or Comfort Eating?
Emotional eating (often called comfort eating) is a way to suppress negative emotions such as anger, sadness, boredom, fear or stress. Major life changes such as being fired from a workplace or having family problems, or simply the stresses of everyday life, can lead to emotional eating. Emotional eating can hinder any weight loss efforts as can encourage negative eating styles such as:
- Snacking – even after you’ve had a meal
- Binge eating – eating a lot in a short amount of time.
- Impulsive eating – continuing to eat when you are no longer hungry.
- Eating too fast – simply put, not chewing your food enough! This can also cause digestive complaints.
Did you typically eat like any of these behaviours or a combination during lock down? Have a look back on how you have been eating over the past three months. Emotional eating behaviours can be conscious (you realise you are doing it) or unconscious (you don’t realise). You may have been reaching for the closest chocolate bar when feeling down and not even noticing!
And you can exacerbate it when you tell yourself things like “I can’t stop at one. I have to eat the lot.”
Ask your family or housemates if they have noticed any differences to their eating behaviours.
How do we Stop Emotional Eating?
We need to learn healthier ways of dealing with our emotions, whether they are conscious or unconscious. We need to be more intune with our hunger and notice when it is physical (actual) hunger and not emotional hunger.
How can we tell physical hunger from emotional hunger? Here are some of the differences:
- Emotional hunger can often feel overwhelming, it can feel like a craving. Often, (depending on your body) physical hunger comes on more gradually, unless you haven’t eaten in a very long time.
- Emotional eating often leads to more of a mindless way of eating. For example you have finished that whole box of crackers without realising! Maybe you got distracted by the TV or the computer while watching an unsettling news story. Physical eating, if not distracted should put you in a more mindful space. Learn more about mindful and intuitive eating here.
- Emotional eating is at its core, not satisfying. You always want more! This is how chips, chocolates and candy really get us stuck in an endless cycle. Physical eating should be satisfying.
Are you experiencing any of or all of these feelings? Don’t worry you are NOT alone!
But, the good news is, once we have realised these negative behaviours then we can change them! And once you tap into your subconscious mind and get it working with your conscious thoughts, weight loss is imminent.
Remember we have all been going through these tough times together, so now’s the time to work together and positively affect each other’s lives to keep well and stay well in the long term. Keep each other accountable and cheer each other on!
But before that (and very soon) we will be offering our….
Free Craving Stopper Webinar
only for those who have “Liked” our new “The Weight Loss Success Coach“ Facebook Page for the announcement