Healthwatch by Shyft

Looking for some healthy eating advice?
Leave your details & our team will help you set up a consult
Sonali Sachdeva

Nutritionist | 22 Yrs. of experience

Sakina Hashmi

Nutritionist | 7 Yrs. of experience

Abhilasha Sharma

Nutritionist | 5 Yrs. of experience

Enter your details

Combatting Emotional Eating

Combatting Emotional Eating
Content
Content

Do you often find yourself heading for the fridge when stressed? Is bingeing tasty junk food your mood lifter? Do you crave a bar of chocolate after having a tough day at work? You are not alone. Emotional ups and downs have been associated with a change in eating patterns in many people. Food consumed under emotional duress is usually unhealthy and damaging to health. So how to counter it? Don’t worry! We’ve got you covered. Read ahead and find out what exactly is emotional eating, what are its triggers, and how to counter it.

What is emotional eating?

Emotional eating refers to behavioural patterns of indulging in unhealthy food consumption to cope with a host of emotions such as stress, anger, anxiety, and boredom.

Signs of emotional eating

  • You eat more when you are under stress.
  • You eat even when you’re not hungry.
  • Eating your comfort foods, when anxious, angry, sad, or bored makes you feel much better.
  • You celebrate your big and small achievements with food.
  • Overeating is a ritual for you
  • Food makes you feel comfortable and happy.
  • You feel powerless around food.

When does it become a problem?

Since food is such an essential aspect of our lives, it is normal to sometimes turn to it when you feel stressed and emotional or when you want to celebrate. However, if emotional eating starts becoming a coping mechanism with no alternatives, it can be a problem. You can find yourself trapped in a vicious cycle of guilt, shame, and emotional overeating if this dependency on food increases too much.

Triggers

Along with negative emotions such as stress, anger, and mental discomfort, various other emotions can trigger emotional eating :

Boredom is one such feeling when one tends to engage in mindless eating just to do something.

Similarly one may eat because they have achieved something. This celebration of achievement by indulging one’s food carvings can be traced back to childhood habits and the tendency to reward children with junk food items, otherwise prohibited.

Fatigue can become another trigger as food provides energy and replenishes the tired body. This is especially true for junk food as it provides instant gratification and satisfaction. However, that feeling does not last long, and eating junk food makes you hungry for more.

Social pressures may also trigger an emotional eating response from some. Sometimes we tend to overeat when in good company. At times, Emotional eating can also be a coping mechanism to counter the nervousness of being outside your comfort zone by seeking comfort in food.

Although these are some of the common triggers, given the subjectivity of the matter you need to identify what leads you to seek food to cope with your emotions.

How to counter emotional eating?

MINDFUL EATING magic: Understand your food before you eat it. Instead of diving right in, feel and sense the food via appearance, smells, flavours, textures, and sounds. Do not eat food in front of the tv or while reading a book. Think about what you’re eating. This method of eating improves your relationship with food and makes you more patient in your approach to food.

EMOTION AND FOOD JOURNAL:

Try making lists. It works every time! Note down your emotional triggers and eating pattern changes. Each time you catch yourself craving your comfort foods or mindlessly munching, find out the cause behind it, what foods you craved, how your mood changed before and after eating, etc. Mapping out your emotional reactions to each stage of emotional eating can help you understand and chart out goals to slowly eradicate this habit from your life.

NEW COPING MECHANISMS for the new you: This might be an overarching goal in the short term, however, it is not impossible. Now that you have identified your triggers it is important to usher in lifestyle changes to remove the need for food as a coping mechanism. This can be done by setting small achievable targets. For example, Take up a hobby that calms you down such as meditating or painting, and practise it whenever you need to relieve stress. If you are bored, try to fill up your time by learning new things.

EXERCISE is key:

Moving your body is an amazing way to reduce and relieve stress. Exercise helps to reduce levels of stress hormones coupled with endorphin release which gives your mood a boost.

MEDITATION: This is a great way to gain control over your mind. It makes you aware of your body and mind in a way that gives you the power to keep your emotions under control. It helps to keep negative emotions at bay. A strong mind is key to achieving control over your dietary decisions.

FREQUENT MEALS: Keep yourself nourished with nutrient-dense food so that you do not feel hungry easily. Eat frequent small meals and reduce cravings which happen especially during the later hours of the day if you do not keep yourself full.

In case you find it difficult to accommodate these changes in your life, consult a qualified practitioner who can support you in formulating achievable targets. Talking to others helps! Often we tend to put excessive pressure on ourselves to achieve long-term goals in short durations. We feel disappointed at the slow progress. However, This defeats the purpose of the entire exercise. Small lifestyle changes can help in achieving big goals. Start small and aim big.


Author:
Prachi Kalra

Prachi Kalra

linkedin
Nutrition
Prachi is a nutrition and wellness expert with over 2.5 years of experience. She has worked in both in-patient and out-patient settings in Multispeciality Hospitals, including Max Hospital. She has experience curating nutrition-focused content for various conditions including PCOS, Diabetes, Thyroid, and Weight Management. She holds an M.Sc degree in Food Science and Nutrition and is also a certified Diabetes Educator. Her areas of specialization include diabetes, weight management, and dietary management for post-bariatric surgery. She believes that sustainable and mindful eating practices are essential for healing and overall well-being. read more

Over 20,000 customers have reduced their symptoms and improved their health by consulting Shyft's Clinical Nutritionists. When are you starting?

READ MORE ON :

Article By:

Read more

Continue to read on a range of topics related to Exercise, Nutrition, Mental Health and Sleep Health.

Understanding The Paleo Diet

4 minutes

06 Apr 2023

Understanding The Paleo Diet

Have you ever wondered how the hunter-gatherers had so much energy to live in all extreme conditions and thrive? Do you want to experience the benefits of the diet they consumed before modern farming emerged? The paleo diet, as it is called in the nutrition zone, consists of foods that individuals could obtain by hunting and gathering in the past. What is the Paleo Diet? The Paleo diet is essentially a keto diet but packed with all the benefits that… Read more

Understanding The Paleo Diet

Understanding The Paleo Diet

Have you ever wondered how the hunter-gatherers had so much energy to live in all extreme conditions and thrive? Do you want to experience the benefits of the diet they consumed before modern farming emerged? The paleo diet, as it is called in the nutrition zone, consists of foods that individuals could obtain by hunting and gathering in the past. What is the Paleo Diet? The Paleo diet is essentially a keto diet but packed with all the benefits that…

book

4 minutes

|

calendar

06 Apr 2023

Is the Keto Diet for you?

6 minutes

06 Aug 2023

Is the Keto Diet for you?

Who has not heard about the craze of keto? The Keto diet has almost become synonymous with weight loss. “ I lost so many kilos while eating my favourite food!” is the tagline of all keto promotions. But is it all that it is made out to be? Is the weight loss here to stay? What about the health damage? If you are confused about trying this diet, we are here to make your decision easier with a pros and… Read more

Most read

Is the Keto Diet for you?

Is the Keto Diet for you?

Who has not heard about the craze of keto? The Keto diet has almost become synonymous with weight loss. “ I lost so many kilos while eating my favourite food!” is the tagline of all keto promotions. But is it all that it is made out to be? Is the weight loss here to stay? What about the health damage? If you are confused about trying this diet, we are here to make your decision easier with a pros and…

book

6 minutes

|

calendar

06 Aug 2023

Most read

Veganism for weight loss

4 minutes

06 Apr 2023

Veganism for weight loss

Is the master diet that caters to celebrities like Ariana Grande, Miley Cyrus, and even Queen Beyonce, good for you? Or is veganism another feather in the cap of Fad diets you should ignore? Let’s find out! Understanding the vegan diet First, all animal products are off limits on a vegan diet including meat, eggs, and even dairy! And secondly, it is much more than just a diet. The term "veganism" refers to a way of life that refuses to… Read more

Veganism for weight loss

Veganism for weight loss

Is the master diet that caters to celebrities like Ariana Grande, Miley Cyrus, and even Queen Beyonce, good for you? Or is veganism another feather in the cap of Fad diets you should ignore? Let’s find out! Understanding the vegan diet First, all animal products are off limits on a vegan diet including meat, eggs, and even dairy! And secondly, it is much more than just a diet. The term "veganism" refers to a way of life that refuses to…

book

4 minutes

|

calendar

06 Apr 2023

Drastic weight loss and its dangers

3 minutes

26 May 2023

Drastic weight loss and its dangers

“Lose 10 kilos in 10 days!” “How to lose weight in 7 days!” “Get rid of belly fat in 2 weeks!” Aren’t these claims a little too familiar? Haven't we all heard or read them and been tempted by the quick results they offer? A slimmer look in no time is guaranteed by fad diets and weight loss products. What classifies as drastic weight loss? Rapid and extreme weight loss occurs when you lose more than 0.5 to 1 kg… Read more

Featured

Drastic weight loss and its dangers

Drastic weight loss and its dangers

“Lose 10 kilos in 10 days!” “How to lose weight in 7 days!” “Get rid of belly fat in 2 weeks!” Aren’t these claims a little too familiar? Haven't we all heard or read them and been tempted by the quick results they offer? A slimmer look in no time is guaranteed by fad diets and weight loss products. What classifies as drastic weight loss? Rapid and extreme weight loss occurs when you lose more than 0.5 to 1 kg…

book

3 minutes

|

calendar

26 May 2023

Featured

Recipes to manage Weight Loss, approved by nutritionists

View all
Understanding Metabolism

Mushroom Matar

A delightful combination of tender mushrooms and green peas cooked in a flavorful blend of spices.

13 INGREDIENTS

|

60 MINS.

Understanding Metabolism

Stir Fry Mixed Vegetable

Sauteed vegetables smothered in a quick sweet and savory sauce - a delicious option perfect as a main course or side.

11 INGREDIENTS

|

30 MINS.

Understanding Metabolism

White Chicken Curry

A milder yet delicious version of the classic chicken curry.

3 INGREDIENTS

|

45 MINS.

Understanding Metabolism

Beetroot Paratha

A healthy and nutrient-dense red colored flatbread recipe made with beetroot puree. Perfect to be served with any choice of dry or gravy based curries.

8 INGREDIENTS

|

30 MINS.

Understanding Metabolism

Thai Massaman Tofu Curry

An aromatic curry with tangy, luxurious taste made with a variety of whole spices.

20 INGREDIENTS

|

30 MINS.

Understanding Metabolism

Berry Smoothie

A refreshing and healthy combination of fruit and yogurt with the goodness of coconut water.

5 INGREDIENTS

|

10 MINS.

Understanding Metabolism

Chicken Clear Soup

A light, hearty and delicious soup with a boost of iron.

7 INGREDIENTS

|

30 MINS.

Understanding Metabolism

Drumstick Soup

A nutrient dense soup with the strong aroma & flavour of drumstick.

6 INGREDIENTS

|

30 MINS.

Understanding Metabolism

Bajra Cauliflower Roti

A nutritious accompaniment for your meals!

7 INGREDIENTS

|

30 MINS.

Understanding Metabolism

Hara Bhara Kebab

A quick starter and snack combinibg the power of spinach and peas

8 INGREDIENTS

|

60 MINS.

View all