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5 Expert tips to break the bonds of emotional eating

Pinkvilla 徽标 Pinkvilla 2021/5/9 Pinkvilla Desk

Emotional stress is on the rise due to the COVID 19 second wave, and do you know what else is on the rise too? Emotional eating or using food to soothe your emotions, whether it is sadness, anger, guilt, fear, or anxiety. But why does emotional eating occur in the first place? It occurs because it is the quickest way to make us feel good. Happiness is a natural state. We are never born sad, so our mind tries to do anything to make us feel happy. Eating, especially foods laden with sugar, salt, and fat is the quickest fix to elevate our mood. What we do not realise is that it only helps us feel better for some time. The crash that follows after it isn’t that pretty. It’s accompanied by guilt, sadness, hate, and more stress, which can put us in a vicious cycle of emotions. So, Luke Coutinho, Holistic Lifestyle Coach - Integrative and Lifestyle Medicine and Founder of YouCare talks about how to break the bonds of emotional eating. 

How can one break the bonds of emotional eating?  

To break the bonds of emotional eating, first, it is necessary to face emotions head-on to be able to break the bonds of emotional eating: 

a woman sitting at a table eating food © Provided by Pinkvilla

1-It's important for us to normalise the feeling of sadness. Staying happy all the time is an illusion that we are having in our minds because the social media showcases mostly the happy and successful side of people. If you feel sad, and need to truly feel your negative emotions, please feel and express it. We are allowed to be bad and good. 

2-What kind of a relationship do you have with food? Do you consider food as a way to nourish and feed your cells with the right balance of nutrients, or as a means to soothe your soul? Improving our relationship with food goes back to childhood and the way parents bring up their kids. Parents must not reward their children with food. The purpose of food is energy and sustaining life. Reward them with a book, a picnic, or some activity that you can do with them but never with food. Your child may feel temporarily happy because he’s going to get that sugary treat but it’s not a meaningful experience. They gradually start to relate food with happiness, and so every time they feel sad, they reach out foods. 

3-Food cannot solve the matters of the heart and mind. If you feel it, express it. Of course, in non-violent ways that won’t cause crime and illegal actions. You are allowed to feel angry, jealous, bitter, guilty, etc. Allow yourself to feel it, run it in your system completely by feeling and riding the emotion. 

Emma Jensen eating a donut © Provided by Pinkvilla

4-Try to express your feelings as much as possible. It could be via talking, writing, recording your own voice note and deleting, journaling, or even setting up a consultation with an expert life coach or emotional counsellor.

5-Don’t be scared to seek help. Certain cases of emotional eating do need counselling and therapy. Take it, because only suppressing it can lead to bigger issues later on.

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