Stress-Eating or Emotional eating is a type of eating that involves people using food to cope with stressful events. Emotional eating affects many people at some point in their lives. It could manifest as boredom eating a bag of chips or a chocolate bar after a stressful day at work. When emotional eating occurs regularly or becomes the primary means of coping with emotions, a person’s life, health, happiness, and weight can all be significantly impacted.
Stress and Emotional Eating Triggers
Emotional eating is triggered by a variety of factors, including stress. Other common causes mentioned by people are:
1. Boredom: A typical emotional eating trigger is boredom or a lack of things to do. Many people have very active and stimulating lives, and when they are bored, they turn to eating to fill the void.
2. Habits: These are frequently fueled by nostalgia or events from a person’s youth. Having ice cream after a good report card or baking cookies with a grandma are two examples.
3. Fatigue: When you’re weary, it’s simpler to overeat or eat mindlessly, especially if you’re tired of doing something unpleasant. Food may appear to be the solution to a desire to no longer engage in a particular activity.
4. Social influences: Everyone has that one friend that encourages them to order pizza after a night out, go out for dinner or drinks after a stressful day, or treat themselves for a successful day. When dining with friends or family, it’s easy to overeat.
How to avoid the triggers
1. Recognise the triggers: The first step in overcoming emotional eating is to recognise the triggers and scenarios that occur in one’s life.
2. Journal or Food Diary: Keeping a food diary or notebook might help you spot circumstances where you’re more inclined to eat for emotional reasons rather than real hunger.
3. Track Your Eating Behaviour: Another technique to obtain insight into one’s eating habits is to track their behaviour. The following are examples of the kind of conduct they may observe:
– Patterns of hunger, perhaps on a scale of 1–10.
– what they’re doing, and whether or not it’s boring and unpleasant.
– what they’re thinking, whether they’re bored or upset.
4. Trying other activities to avoid triggers: – Someone who eats while bored might wish to start reading a new book that seems interesting or take up a new hobby that will provide a challenge.
– To cope with their emotions, someone who eats due to stress could try yoga, meditation, or going for a walk.
– To cope with their negative sentiments, someone who eats while unhappy can call a friend, go for a run with the dog, or arrange an outing.
5. Professional Help: – Talking to a therapist or psychologist about different strategies to disrupt the pattern of emotional eating can also be beneficial.
– A nutritionist or doctor may also be able to refer you to an expert or give you with extra information on how to develop healthy eating habits and improve your relationship with food.
Emotional eating isn’t just about a person’s lack of self-control or a desire to eat less. People who eat to cope with stress, on the other hand, don’t only lack self-control.