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HomeLIFESTYLEFood & Kitchen SecretsEmotional eating: Does change of weather trigger abnormal eating?

Emotional eating: Does change of weather trigger abnormal eating?

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Emotional eating: Do seasons trigger abnormal eating?

Emotional eating is feeding your feelings instead of nourishing your body.

“We ate a lot of junk over the holiday”. Let me be clear no food is bad for you unless it is rotten, mouldy, stale, spoiled or you are allergic to it. All food gives you some energy, pleasure, connection, or enjoyment. Some food gives you more nutrients, more vitamins and more minerals, more fibre than others, but we are not machines that run on nutrients.

Have you ever wanted to eat healthily but then struggled? You are not alone. Almost all of us have. Restricting food leads to overconsuming later. With the holiday season, people with eating disorders may turn to food. Though these are normal times when emotional eating occurs there are ways to help when it begins to interfere with one’s life.

Emotional eating is a sign that part of us feels under-protected. We are overwhelmed and trying to soothe ourselves. It is a way to suppress or soothe emotions such as stress, anger, fear, boredom, sadness, and loneliness. Emotional eating is a coping mechanism that is used by humans to deal with their triggers, it is a response to strong feelings. One of the biggest factors in emotional eating behaviour is the inability to process and or recognize emotions when they arise. Triggers can be a person, place, or thing. It can also be a season, a song or sound.

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Also Read: Eating disorders in men: undiagnosed & untreated

Some of us eat to release stress or overeat after a bad day. Some of us may turn to food for comfort. However, eating to soothe emotions usually makes us feel worse. Sudden urges, craving for specific foods, continuing to eat despite fullness, and eating to satisfy emotional feelings, trigger feelings of guilt or regret. Cravings begin in the mind e.g. thoughts about foods or feelings of taste. There’s a hormone that our body produces when we feel stressed, or upset, that’s how there is a biological connection between emotional eating and stress. Cortisol makes us crave sugary, fatty, or salty foods.

Emotional eating can be led by seasonal stressors like colder temperatures and earlier sunsets. Holiday seasons can also lead to episodes of emotional eating. Holidays bring a lot of spending, stress, interactions with family members, and availability of all kinds of great holiday treats. Family gatherings are the storms of emotional eating. When we consider the tendency to overeat during the holiday season, from this point of view we get a profound insight into how deregulated unsafe and not present most of us feel when confronted by the pressure to gather, be happy, and see family meet expectations.

To conquer emotional eating, you need to identify your trigger. Then find ways to soothe your emotions other than with food. What would it be like if we let ourselves surrender and investigate our resistance instead of trying to shove it down and negotiate with it? The emotional eating pattern may take time to break. Working on this one step at a time might be helpful. You may not completely eliminate emotional eating you can slowly become more aware of your habits and definitely feel better about food. What would it be like if we squeezed a pressure point took 3 deep breaths all the way in and out or declined invites that made us feel unsafe instead of barreling through or overriding the feedback from our own souls? There are decisions we can make when we allow ourselves to our own needs in the driver’s seat of our lives.

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Dr. Rachna Khanna Singh
Dr. Rachna Khanna Singh
Currently head of Department of Holistic Medicine & Wellness at Artemis Hospital, Gurgaon Dr. Rachna Khanna Singh is a mental wellness expert with expertise in relationship, lifestyle & stress management. The founder and director of The Mind and Wellness Studio Dr. Rachna Khanna has worked with leading hospitals like Fortis Escorts, Dharamshila Cancer Hospital. Her specialties include stress management, lifestyle management for heart diseases, supportive care for chronically ill patients, work-life balance, parent-child bonding, cancer support care, ante/postnatal care, relationship counselling, pre-marital & marital counselling, adolescent counselling, psychiatric & psychological illnesses like depression, anxiety, insomnia.


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