Emotions even eat
However, beyond producing overweight or obvious health problems, what generates above all is unhappiness, suffering and guilt. It is necessary to know how to distinguish real hunger from emotional hunger.
Sadness is also eaten, as is the stress or frustration of that bad day at work . People are not always able to distinguish real hunger from emotional hunger and something like this causes anxiety to eat, which often results in cholesterol, hypertension, overweight or other health problems. Now, beyond these organic problems there is another more complex challenge.
We talk about suffering. We refer to dissatisfaction, guilt, and unhappiness. It is true that there are nuances. We have all gone through that specific period in time in which the nerves have made us fall into more inadequate eating patterns. The times of exams or those with a higher workload sometimes lead us to these behaviors.
However, there are other realities that often go unnoticed. Eating disorders often manifest themselves this way. After all, eating is intimately conditioned by our state of mind and, sometimes, we fall into states from which it is very difficult for us to get out. Emotional hunger will never ask us for a plate of vegetables.
Anxiety has a predilection for "junk food." Thus, if we do not treat what is behind our own anxiety, we will reinforce the same behavior over and over again, that in which food becomes the vehicle for emotional relief.
Eating anxiety: symptoms, causes and coping strategies
Eating anxiety, if it becomes a constant, already reflects an eating disorder. Furthermore, a large part of the scientific studies on this subject demonstrate that anxiety disorders are, in most cases, the etiological factor of this type of eating problems.
Research, such as that carried out in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Minnesota (United States), tells us about this relationship. Dr. Corine Webb, author of the study, points out that a large number of these people have, on average, poor skills to manage those emotional states that drive compulsive hunger. These are, without a doubt, complex situations of which we should have more knowledge. We analyze them.
How do I know if I have anxiety about eating?
It may seem like a no-brainer. "How can I not know if I have anxiety about eating?" . As striking as it may seem, it is not always so, since there are many people who do not know how to differentiate real hunger from emotional hunger.
Let's see some characteristic data of the latter.
- The urge to eat something appears suddenly and impulsively and in the form of cravings .
- Generally, these episodes of food intake by anxiety we do it alone, with no one in front .
- The brain basically looks for foods that generate pleasure, that provide us with a high serotonin cocktail . Something like this is only produced by so-called "junk food," which we can compulsively eat.
- Emotional hunger arises with greater intensity just when we have many obligations and pressures. For example, today we should have started with this project that must be presented next week at work. However, instead of doing it, we have sat on the sofa with a couple of packages of chips, a pizza and an ice cream.
- That appetite is not physiological, but it is still rarely satiated. We ingest and ingest until we feel the classic fullness in the stomach, although in reality the only thing we seek is to heal gaps, quench anxiety and cheat it with something gratifying.
- Now, it is necessary to bear in mind that eating out of anxiety produces feelings of guilt . We proceed to eat to calm the emotional craving, but when doing so, far from feeling satisfied, discomfort appears.
- We feel bad about ourselves for not keeping control. We know these foods are unhealthy, and feeling like we couldn't help it produces even more frustration.
Emotional hunger what is the cause?
The trigger for eating anxiety is obviously our emotions. These moods are usually orchestrated in turn by very diverse situations, but on average it is worth highlighting the following:
- High self-demand .
- Constant need to have everything under control . This may seem ironic, but it has its explanation: the need for everything to be under our control and in order can exhaust us and suddenly generate a rebound effect. That exhaustion looks for an escape valve with the intake of junk food.
- Low self-esteem and seeing food as a rewarding refuge.
- Food is seen as an evasion mechanism for times of high stress or simply when we have a bad day.
Strategies to reduce and control anxiety about eating
To reduce anxiety about eating we must take into account one aspect. If we have been dragging this behavior for a long time, it is a priority to consult a professional specialized in eating disorders. Both psychologists and nutritionists are the best allies in these situations.
On the other hand, if it is something occasional, if we are aware that at certain times it gives us for these behaviors, for falling into unhealthy eating habits, it is advisable to follow the following guidelines.
- Clarify the foci of stress and anxiety that drive you to eat impulsively . Handle them, focus them differently and have control over them.
- Make changes to your routine, something motivating that can help you channel anxiety: playing sports, signing up for dance classes .
- Looking for other types of rewards can help.
- Avoid eating alone.
- Plan what you are going to eat. Do not leave room for improvisation.
- Go to the supermarket with an already detailed list of healthy foods. Remember in turn the classic advice " what you do not put in the shopping cart will not be at home and therefore you will avoid temptations"
- Learn to manage your emotions, practice relaxation techniques.
To conclude, we have all grappled in more than a moment with the emptiness of emotional hunger. With that hole in the stomach that rarely satiates food. Those internal cleavages are always the product of a mind that demands attention, of a self-esteem that must be repaired and reinforced. Do not hesitate to consult with a good professional; our physical and psychological health is important.
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