Ask Mira: Eating Right to Live Happy & Healthy

You feel sad, you eat. You feel happy, you eat. You are tired, you eat. Angry, stressed? You eat. Sometimes, you eat to celebrate, and sometimes it is a kind of punishment, you feel bad about yourself and you eat to punish yourself even more.

But then you feel guilty because you have broken your diet.

If you are into what health experts call emotional eating, then this post is for you.

What is Emotional Eating? Eating when you are emotional, rather than when you are hungry is something most people do occasionally. But… emotional eating starts to be a problem when it becomes abnormal and you feel that it is out of your control. This type of eating plays a major role in some people being overweight.

Different emotions can trigger eating like: Boredom, anger, sadness, happiness, anxiety, loneliness, stress, low self-esteem, disappointment and frustration.

Am I hungry now or am I eating for another reason? Usually when you eat because of your emotions, you are too happy or sad to feel whether you are actually hungry or not, so you cannot recognize the feeling of fullness, because you are taken into the emotions of this specific moment.

Look for an activity that goes with your emotions: Find an activity that brings you the mental and psychological comfort you find in foods, whether it is sugary or salty items. For example, you can run on the treadmill when you are angry or stressed.  Any intense activity can secrete endorphins, and these hormones will make you feel relaxed and eventually will block your cravings.

If you are eating because you are happy, replace that by activities that make you feel good about yourself, like shopping, clubbing, going out with friends or just calling a humorous friend.

Here are some other alternatives that might help: If you are depressed or lonely, call someone who always makes you feel better, play with your dog or cat, or look at a favorite photo or cherished memento.

If you are anxious, expend your nervous energy by dancing to your favorite song, squeezing a stress ball, or taking a brisk walk.

If you are exhausted, treat yourself with a hot cup of tea, take a bath, light some scented candles, or wrap yourself in a warm blanket.

If you are bored, read a good book, watch a comedy show, explore the outdoors, or turn to an activity you enjoy (woodworking, playing the guitar, shooting hoops, scrapbooking, etc.)

Choose Healthy alternatives: When you think happiness, it is chocolate. When you think sadness, and stress, it can be chips. You can change all these habits and turn your snacks into healthy ones. If you want something sweet, you can try a fruit salad, yogurt with some fruits or snack bar for example, instead of chocolate cakes or doughnuts.

Also, a small number of nuts and almonds gives you the feeling of fullness for a longer time, even more than biscuits. What about a whole grain toast, with jam on the top? It is a great option to have as well. Sweet and nutritious.

Before you go sleep, have a cup of skim milk or low- fat plain yogurt: It will calm you down at night.

Do not skip your meals: People who are emotional eaters often lose their sense of hunger. They are always full because they snack a lot. Feeling hunger before meals is an excellent factor that contributes to weight loss or weight maintenance.

By slowing down and savoring every bite, you will not only enjoy your food more but you will also be less likely to overeat. Slowing down and savoring your food is an important aspect of mindful eating, the opposite of mindless, emotional eating.

So, eat your main meals when you are hungry and let your snacks be light and healthy. And, when you feel that you are losing control towards food, ask yourself: Am I still hungry or am I eating for another reason? Pause when cravings hit and check in with yourself.

Cinnamon Drink: This warming spice has gained a special reputation for helping to beat sugar cravings. Cinnamon seems to help the body control the amount of sugar in our blood, which regulates the ‘highs’ and ‘lows’ that can induce cravings.

So, boil a cinnamon stick with half a liter of water, add one teaspoon of honey and enjoy it twice a day.

Unfortunately, emotional eating does not fix emotional problems. In fact, it usually makes you feel worse. Accept your feelings and give yourself the opportunity to make a different decision.


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