When we are emotionally hungry, we are not hungry for food, but...for emotions, and while food can help alleviate negative states, identifying the feelings that are causing this hunger is critical! Stress, anxiety, or sadness are all situations and emotions that can lead to emotional hunger, and the solution is to find alternative ways to deal with these feelings.
MEDITATE TO CALM DOWN
Several studies have found that meditation, by promoting mindfulness, can help people deal with emotional hunger and eating disorders.
Bringing your attention to the here and now will help you to calm your mind and bring your awareness to the present moment. Leaving behind the agony of the past, as well as the anxiety of the future... in the future... and focusing solely on the present.
And, in fact, there are several ways to bring your attention back to the present moment. In addition to the breathing exercises mentioned previously, you can engage in activities such as painting, sewing, gardening, or even a walk or run.
TALK POSITIVELY TO YOURSELF AND ASK YOURSELF:
What's the matter with me right now? Am i hungry? Why do I feel like eating when I'm not hungry? What do I wish I could be doing right now? Is there anything that concerns me? What can I do right now that gives me pleasure?
Emotional eating is frequently associated with feelings of shame and guilt. It is important to practise positive self-talk, especially after an episode. Rather than being discouraged, try to learn from the situation. Use it to forecast future events and treat yourself with a pleasurable activity such as a hot bath, a walk, or listening to good music.
DO NOT ISOLATE YOURSELF AND SEEK HELP
In times of sadness or anxiety, resist the urge to isolate yourself. A phone call to a long-distance friend or family member can do wonders. If you believe that the situation is out of control and that emotional hunger episodes are becoming more frequent, it is time to seek professional assistance. Contact your doctor and a Psychologist to assist you with the mental aspect of emotional eating. Although it is much more common than you might think, emotional eating can lead to binge eating disorder or other eating disorders if left untreated.
Despite the fact that it is a difficult task, the more you know and accept yourself, the easier it will be to deal with your emotions and take control of your life.
Ana Jorge, Nutri & Health Coach