#3 Stress Eating/Emotional Eating
I am sure we are all familiar with this trigger. We get stressed is a situation and turn to food for comfort. The article I am reading (see first post in series) is connecting this with “the fight-or-flight reaction to stress”.
I know there are some reactions that happen in our brain when we eat certain foods. I recall one time I got into an argument with my daughter and it put me in a foul mood. I tried to shake it off, but couldn’t rid myself of the bad mood. About an hour later, I picked up my sister for our weekly walk and said, “I need some chocolate.” So, we went to the expensive candy store, where they sold Belgium chocolate. I bought two pieces and savored the taste and texture. Then I felt something click in my brain and lo and behold, the bad mood left me and I was feeling good.
That was a unique experience for me but it gave me a lesson that some foods can and do have an effect on our brain. I think there is now enough research to support this and certain foods do affect the way we feel.
However, I also discovered that I do not need to eat fattening foods to make me feel better, sometimes I just need to change what I am thinking. If I focus on negative thoughts, then I find that I become my own “Debbie Downer”. Switching to an attitude of gratitude can do wonders to my mood. After all, it’s hard to feel grouchy if I am focusing on the things for which I am grateful.
So, if you are one of those who eat to feel better and then discover that feel good sensation only lasts a short time, then before you grab that cookie take a moment to sit and think about what is really bothering you. Is there anything you can do to fix the issue? If so, then write out the steps of action you can take to resolve the issue.
It may also help to keep a journal and keep track of your mood at the times you eat. This will help you see if you are eating to relieve stress instead of eating when you are hungry. If you find that to be so, then instead of grabbing that cookie, occupy you time with something else to feel better. Perhaps, taking a quick walk around the block, have a chat with someone, listen to some relaxing music, or soak in a warm bubble bath. Just do some activity that does not involve food to relieve that stress.
(to be continued…)