When does indulging in your favourite snack cross the line from comfort to concern?
Are you piling on the pounds emotional eating during this lockdown? If so you are not alone! We are all feeling the effects of the situation we are being faced with during this global pandemic. I want to explain a little bit about emotional eating and also how I could help you manage your weight and eating habits throughout this period. Lockdown WILL end one day, so now is a great opportunity to focus on your own health and wellbeing.
I have been connecting with many clients both past and present over the last few weeks, trying to keep everyone as focused on their health goals as possible. The main issue amongst a lot of us is the amount of food we are consuming. For some, it is binge eating due to boredom and for others, it’s connected to their emotions. The difference between emotional eating and binge eating lies mainly in how much food you consume.
Stress manifests in different ways, but most of us can relate to the concept of emotional eating. Are you catching yourself snacking all day long? Emotional eating or stress eating is when you consume food not out of hunger, but out of anxiety, frustration, or sadness. For some, emotional eating is triggered by a particularly traumatic event but for others, it can just be a habitual reaction to financial or emotional turbulence. Something we are all facing at the moment.
But don’t worry- emotional eating is somewhat normal, and in some cases, better for your mental health depending on how you handle it.
In fact, emotional eating can be great for relieving stress with THE RIGHT FOODS, provided it doesn’t get too out of hand. Eating puts our body into a state of relaxation by activating the parasympathetic nerves. Indulging in and savouring the flavours of food feels good and can lift our moods instantly.
But when emotional eating no longer relieves but rather contributes to stress, it can get out of hand.
At a point, emotional eating gives way to self-loathing as we feel ashamed of our indulgence. We want to hide our “binging” episodes, but because of a lack of other emotional coping mechanisms, they spiral out of our control.
To prevent emotional eating from advancing to the next stage, we need to tackle the problem at its roots: stress, frustration, and other emotional ruts.
Take up meditation or yoga to simultaneously tackle stress and improve your self-discipline. Take advantage of your opportunity to exercise outdoors daily. Make sure if nothing else you go for a 30min walk, to clear your head and get some much needed fresh air. You may find my recent blog on how to handle the top 5 food cravings.
To make sure your stress eating never borders on binge eating, keep a food diary. Records of your day-to-day eating choices will help prevent you from putting on unwanted pounds and improve your overall mindfulness when it comes to consumption.
And finally, to manage your emotional eating in a far healthier way, look for healthy alternatives to your favourite go-to snacks, As we are all advised to shop as little as possible I recommend you create a weekly meal plan and shop from a list. This will help you stick with healthier food choices throughout the day.
Wishing you health and happiness,
P.S Please follow me on Instagram for some meal inspo!
P.S I have created a Beat the Stress guide for you to download for free, I hope it gives you some simple tips to stay well during this lockdown period and beyond. You can download your copy here.