Pull The Trigger On Emotional Eating

couple romantic dinner

Eating a healthy diet isn’t just about what you eat. We all know to some degree, what types of foods are considered healthier, and what types of foods we think we should avoid. Many of us though, don’t take the time to identify WHY we eat. Yes, we eat because we are hungry, or because we need energy – But is that always the case? Without realising, we often eat because of situational or emotional triggers.

Food is great, especially when it tastes good. It can bring people together, it can provide entertainment and nourishment, it even provides an income for some; What food also provides is comfort. How many times have you thought – Gee its cold outside, I’d love to eat something nice and warm! Or, my favourite – Ergh, Tashina Hill my boss was horrible today, I hate my job, I feel like chocolate!

By becoming more aware of why we are eating, we can ultimately gain more control over what we are eating & how we feel. Eating emotionally often becomes a habit (that we are unaware of), which can prevent us from learning ways to deal with emotional stresses, and in turn can lead to over-eating.

What are the triggers?

Emotional Eating

Emotional eating can come about in many different ways. Nothing to do, are you eating out of boredom? Do you feel stressed or anxious, surely something to eat will make you feel better? What about being upset or angry – chocolate is great! Are you sick of spending time alone, feeling lonely – you may as well have something to eat, right? Emotions often lead to cravings of food and comfort.

Situational/Habitual Eating

We all have activities and pass times that are associated with food. The movies wouldn’t be the same without a choc top or a bucket of pop corn, and the footy isn’t the footy without a meat pie! Take some time to think about it, do you eat whilst you watch tv because you are hungry, or because thats just what you do? What about your lunch break at work, are you eating because you are actually hungry, or are you eating just because it is “lunch time”?

Physiological Eating

How many times have you skipped meals because you are busy running around doing things? Then later when things slow down you tell yourself you are starving because you haven’t eaten all day! Is that headache you have really due to hunger, or is your body trying to tell you something else?

Social Eating

Catching up with family and friends is great – it makes us feel fantastic. How often though, is a get together associated with food? ”Lets catch up for dinner!” or “We should have a BBQ” are very common. These sort of events naturally mean you are going to eat, but are you actually hungry or are you just eating due to the social occasion and because everyone else is?

Eating triggers, once you are aware of them, are not a bad thing. By knowing why you are eating – there is more control.

How can Superfoods help?

Chocolate is a huge favourite when it comes to emotional eating – and there is a reason for this, it does actually make us feel good! Chocolate is a highly refined overly processed form of the cacao bean that has been mixed with a number of unhealthy substances, including refined sugar and milk. Its actually the chemical compounds of the cacao bean that makes us feel good.

Cacao contains Penylethylamine (PEA). PEA is a chemical associated with love and optimism. When we feel good our PEA levels increase. Conversely when we ingest PEA rich foods such as cacao our mood also is likely to become elevated. Cacao also contains Anandamide, known as the bliss chemical, it is a chemical naturally produced after exercise giving us a sense of well being. The brain rapidly breaks down this chemical so that its effects are not long lasting. Cacao is the only plant that contains this chemical and in addition contains enzyme inhibitors that slow its break down in the system. This is one of the reasons that cacao can give a longer lasting bliss sensation particularily in combination with the other unique chemical properties in the cacao.

Stress is a big trigger when it comes to emotional eating. Maca, is a great superfood for helping us adapt to cope with the stresses of everyday life. Maca, much like many other superfoods and herbs is an adaptogenic plant. This means that when ingested by the body it has the effect of balancing hormones and nerves and stabilizing the musculature and cardiovascular systems in the body. What this means is that the body will utilize the maca as it sees fit. In otherwords, if the body is under stress and requires rest it with allow it to do so. Conversely if the body requires extra energy in times of stress it will adjust to meet the circumstances. What this can mean for the long term is a slow building up of the bodies natural defence system which can enhance immunity against the pressures that one might encounter in their everyday lives.

By eating nutrient dense Superfoods, you will not only be making better decisions about what you are eating (whether it be out of necessity or emotional eating) you are also fueling your body with nutrient dense foods. By ensuring your body is getting what it needs, it will curb cravings for sweet & undesirable foods in the future – breaking the cycle of bad emotional eating!

Hola, món!

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