Do you regularly reach for chocolate, potato chips and the like when you’re stressed, under pressure or frustrated?
The most important message: You are not alone! We all try to satisfy our “emotional hunger” with food from time to time. Especially when stress, frustration or boredom come up.
In this blog post, you’ll learn all about the causes of emotional eating. You’ll also learn strategies to break this vicious cycle.
Why we tend to compensate our feelings with food
Your day was stressful and you need some soul food? After an argument with your boyfriend or girlfriend eating feels good for you?
Most of us are familiar with such situations. But we often don’t realize how much we are unconsciously driven when eating.
Emotional eating takes place when we eat because of feelings even though we are not hungry on a physical level. For example, when we develop eating behaviors that are linked to certain feelings through upbringing, habits, or instilled beliefs.
That is, emotional eating does not satisfy physical hunger. It’s a strategy your body uses to combat stress.
The problem: The effect usually doesn’t last very long. Chocolate, cookies or potato chips may comfort you in the short term, but they don’t solve the actual problem.
“Emotional eating” can thus become a vicious circle that is not only stressful on an emotional level. It also threatens your success with intermittent fasting.
The good news is that you can learn to recognize natural hunger and distinguish it from cravings.
The best strategies against emotional eating
1. Find the trigger
When you find yourself heading for the fridge, stop and ask yourself why you want to eat. Are you really hungry? Or is it stress, sadness, boredom?
Observe yourself and write down your thoughts and feelings. This helps to identify patterns and create awareness.
2. Search for alternatives
Eating is a habit, like many other things in our lives. Alternatively, how about a phone call with a friend, a walk, an exciting book, some gardening, or a relaxing bath?
With a little distraction, you’ll outsmart your brain – and cravings.
3. Avoid food restrictions
You may think certain foods can’t go hand in hand with a healthy diet. That’s only true up to a certain point.
Because there’s a big problem: Restrictions usually have a particularly strong appeal to us. So if you put your favorite treats on the red list, the risk of emotional eating is even higher.
That’s why it’s important to enjoy what you like. But do it in moderation and consciously!
4 Manage your stress
If you often feel stressed and frustrated in everyday life, it is important to actively find balance and relaxation.
Sports and breathing exercises can be very helpful. But also activities with friends or specific relaxation techniques such as autogenic training or progressive muscle relaxation. If you want to learn more about stress management, feel free to read our blog post about it.
5. Increase your inner strength with intermittent fasting
Intermittent fasting helps you to separate your eating behavior from your emotions. Because it gradually helps you get rid of the feeling that you “have to” eat something at short intervals, eating only in a certain time window gives your day more structure. This makes it easier for you to detach your feelings from your eating habits.
Especially if you’re going through an emotionally difficult time, intermittent fasting can be your anchor. Your strategy to combat emotional eating.
How to make the leap from emotional to mindful eating with intermittent fasting
Accepting (negative) emotions is a challenging task. Thus, it’s even more important to find good strategies for dealing with them in a more positive way.
Intermittent fasting can be your strategy for more balance. Your way out of this vicious circle of emotional eating.
Important: Don’t be too hard on yourself if you don’t manage to change your eating behavior right away. Always be aware that every change takes time. Your eating behavior does not define you as a person.
Be patient and forgiving with yourself. Then you will definitely succeed in making the leap from emotional to mindful eating.
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