Emotional nutrition

Imagine that you quarreled with one of your best friends. Of course, this is temporary, and you will certainly make up, but now you are upset. You enter the house and the husband asks what happened. What will be the answer?

  1. You will tell your husband everything honestly and even, perhaps, discuss with him the circumstances and causes of the quarrel.
  2. You will say that "everything is fine" and open the refrigerator in search of ice cream.

But is the packaging of chocolate ice cream really going to solve the problem? Or, as a result, will you just feel sickened?


  1. What is emotional nutrition
  2. "Comfortable" food products
  3. Physical and emotional hunger
  4. Healthy nutrition: your personal program

What is emotional nutrition

Emotional eating is when people use food as a way to fight feelings and not to quenchhunger. We all at least once in their life ate a biscuit package from boredom or a box of chocolate while preparing for the exam. But when this happens too often, and especially unconsciously, emotional nutrition can affect weight, health and overall well-being.

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Not many of us see the connection between food and our senses. But understanding what controls the emotional use of food helps people take action to get rid of this habit.

One of the most common myths about emotional nutrition is the belief that it is provoked by negative feelings. Yes, people often turn to food in a state of stress, loneliness, sadness, anxiety and boredom. But it can be connected with positive emotions, such as romanticism( joint eating of dessert for Valentine's Day) or friendship( common feast on holidays).

Sometimes emotional nutrition is associated with important life events, such as death or divorce. More often, however, the cause of it is the myriad of small daily stresses that cause a person to seek comfort in food.

A tendency to emotional eating behavior can be learned in childhood: a child who was given a candy after a great achievement can become an adult, use candy as a reward for a job well done. A child who is given a cookie to stop crying may in the future eat it to achieve a sense of comfort.

It is very difficult to "unlearn" emotionally eat food. But it's still possible. And this hard way begins with the realization of what is happening.

"Comfortable" food products

We all have our own "comfort" products. It is interesting that their species can vary depending on mood and sex. One study showed that happy people often eat pizza, while sad people prefer ice cream and biscuits. Bored people crave salty and crispy foods, such as chips. The researchers also found that young men predominantly lean on hot homemade dishes, such as steaks and casseroles. The girls are looking for solace in chocolate and ice cream.

There is a curious question: why do not we console ourselves with carrots and celery? Studies have shown that fatty and sweet foods( for example, ice cream) activate certain chemicals in the body, giving a sense of satisfaction and self-realization. Once faced with this effect, you are more likely to contact these products again when you are frustrated.

Physical and emotional hunger

We are all somewhat emotional eaters( otherwise why do most of us order a delicious dessert after an already quite hearty dinner?).But for some people, emotional food can become a real problem, provoking serious weight gain and even causing bulimia.

In addition to weakening health, the problem also lies in the fact that after the pleasure from the eaten disappears, negative emotions come back again. And often they are aggravated by the discomfort of the quantity and type of food eaten. That is why it is so important to learn how to distinguish between physical and emotional hunger.

The next time you want to eat, try to understand what type of hunger is the cause of your desire. For this you can ask the following questions:

  • did the portions of my food become larger than before?
  • Do I eat at an unusual time?
  • do I feel loss of control while eating?
  • does the situation worry me at work or in the family?
  • should not an event occur soon, during which my abilities will be checked?
  • was there any problem in my recent past that still worries me?
  • Do I have excess weight?
  • Do other members of my family eat food in order to calm their feelings?

If you answered yes to many of these questions, then it is possible that food is a protective mechanism, not a way to satiate your body.

Healthy weight: your personal program

You need to find another way to deal with the situations and feelings that today make you turn to food. For example, do you come home from work every day and automatically go to the kitchen? Stop and ask yourself: "Am I really hungry?"Does your stomach grumble? Do you have difficulty concentrating? Did you feel irritated? If all the signs of your condition indicate the presence of hunger, choose something light and healthy, capable of satisfying it before dinner.

If the appeal to food immediately after work is not provoked by hunger, but simply became a part of your life, think about why. The following tips will help you answer this question.

  1. Find out why you eat, and find a substitute for this action.
    For example:
    • if you are bored or lonely, call or email a friend or family member;
    • if you are nervous, do yoga, listen to positive music, release steam on the treadmill, jump and dance until the desire to eat passes;
    • if you are tired, pay attention to your sleep patterns. Fatigue can cause feelings very similar to hunger. If sleepless nights are the cause of daytime fatigue, eating still does not help.
  2. Write down the emotions that cause cravings for food. One of the best ways is keeping a food diary. Write down what you ate and how much, how you felt at the same time( for example, you were bored or happy, you felt anxious or sad), whether you were really hungry or ate just for comfort.
    By logging, you will begin to see the connection between your feelings and what you eat and how. You can use this information to make the right choice - whether to direct your activity to eliminate the cause of bad emotions or from the habit of reaching for a bag of chips.
  3. Before you pounce on food, pause and count to five. Too often we start doing something unconsciously or thoughtlessly. Remember what happened on that day. Realize how this affected your mood. Do you feel happy? Thanks? Excitation? Anger? Excitement? Envy?

Even realizing what is happening, many of us still need help, not having the strength to break the vicious circle on our own. This is not easy, especially when emotional food has already led to a lot of health problems and loss of self-esteem. Do not try to cope with the problem alone if you doubt success.

Use qualified help. Consultants and therapists will teach you how to cope with your feelings. Nutritionists will help identify food habits and give advice on how to change them. Fitness trainers will pick up a set of exercises that improve well-being just as well as eating.

If you are worried about your health, consult your doctor. He will not only develop a safe weight loss program, but will reduce you to professionals who will help establish a healthier relationship with food.

Nutrition and Health
  • Apr 15, 2018
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