Raise your hand if you are guilty of binging on fries and that pack of chocolate chip cookies each time a project deadline is super close and you have absolutely no clue what to do. Or maybe it’s the night before a board exam and you know you’ll flunk so you think, hey! Why not munch on some haray bharay cheese walay chicken nuggets? We’ve all been there at one point or another.
While some of us tend to starve ourselves when they are stressed or depressed, others might actually do the exact opposite, with guilt that follows the other day because you suddenly realize you were supposed to control your diet and not just let it go.
Why Do We Do It?
The question is, why do we eat so much when we are strained? Experts define this habit as ‘emotional eating’ which is, as the term suggests, eating in a state of emotional frenzy which is totally different from mindful eating where you actually are in control of what and how much you are supposed to consume. The adrenal glands in our bodies tend to produce higher amounts of cortisol when the body is in a state of anxiety and what cortisol does is that it makes you feel hungry. And the reason why emotional eating needs to be controlled is because the consequences of hunger that is induced by stress are long term. Here’s how you can help yourself.
Think About The Real Problem
Okay so you feel overwhelmed and you just got to eat that bag of chips, no matter what. Oh and those shami kababs in the fridge? Bring those as well. Do you wish to eat all that because you are actually hungry? Your stomach says it doesn’t need food right now. What you need to do here is reflect on the real problem which is being stressful for you. The exam tomorrow? Maybe you can Facetime a friend and revise together. Worrying is never an option.
Be Your Own Friend In Need
In times of stress, you wouldn’t actually realize it but your body needs compassion from yourself and so does your mind. We tend to be harsh on ourselves when we are upset, whether it’s about playing the blame game or stuffing your stomach with food when it clearly doesn’t want to be stuffed. You need to tell yourself that episodes of anxiety happen to everyone and it’s okay to feel bummed out. Be kind to yourself and treat yourself to a more decent distraction than just tons of food, maybe a movie would do? Or a walk outside?
Start Off Small
For those of us for whom binge eating while upset is more of a habit, you can start off by taking smaller portions of the junk food you plan on eating. How about half a pack of chips? If that doesn’t do, how about you focus on slow chewing and take smaller bites in general? Make yourself believe that you are savoring all the different ingredients and flavors. These are ways to trick your mind into believing you have eaten much since you are taking time.