Emotional appetite or emotional cravings is the feeling that urges to eat foods and snacks even though our physical body doesn’t feel hungry or craves for eating. Most of the people find emotional eating as a coping mechanism to deal with unpleasant and negative circumstances of life such as sadness, depression, anger, fear, failure, etc. Though it might soothe your emotions for the time being, however, later on, it ends up with the more stressful situation when you find sudden growth in your weight.
So it is very important for every one of you to imply some effective tips and ways to curb your emotional appetite so that later on you won’t have to regret when you end up with more calorie or fat gain. This is the emotional appetite which is considered as the primary culprit responsible for the failure of a hardcore workout as well as diet routine to lose weight and build muscles.
Getting comfort in foods during the low situations and circumstances of life is quite usual and there is nothing wrong in it if it happens only occasionally like ones or twice in a week. However, in reality, the things don’t go in the right way because it is seen that once people started to get a comfort zone in their emotional appetite and eating then it becomes their primary substitute to deal with all minor to big issues of their life.
Many people eat lost of food just within a day whenever they feel lonely, heart-broken, sad, angry, bored, exhausted and so soon the long list of negative or low feelings of their life. This further leads them with more guilt and shame as this particularly leads the cycle of excessive eating and its associated health risks such as weight gain.
This at the end increases your life issues more and your primary or basic life problems remains as it is which initially triggers your emotional appetite or hunger. As per the health specialists, emotional appetite is completely different than the physical appetite because the later one is the necessity of your body that you need for living healthy and for your survival.
On the other hand, emotional appetite is just a feeling of your brain that doesn’t get easily satisfied with the portion of the meal that can satisfy your physical hunger. It needs more and more which even hampers your brain ability to choose and decide what is good for your health and what you must avoid for the sake of your good health and well being.
This is a big problem with this type of appetite and eating. So it is quite essential to learn some technique which can help you in your weaker conditions or situation to go through them without getting distracted by your favorite meals or snack’s cravings. Below we have enlisted some useful techniques or ways that can help in your way of curbing your emotional appetite and eating thereon.
Recognize Your Emotional Appetite Triggers
Before starting the list of emotional appetite curbing tricks it is crucial to understand your triggers or factors that provoke your emotional appetite. Some most common reasons or triggers of emotional appetite are mentioned below-
In today’s fast-paced world stress is a usual and unavoidable part of our day to day life. No matter what is your lifestyle, at what working environment you work, how much secure is your financial status or personal life or any other sector you belongs to, you are likely to get some or more stress from every activity and aspects of your life.
So to deal with such immense and regular life stress and tension people find an easy comfort and relaxation in eating some delicious foods ignoring their health value completely. Stress produces more cortisol hormone in the body which triggers your mind to eat some more salty, sugary and spicy foods which for the time being proves as an instant energy booster that you need at that particular situation.
This type of craving or appetite is nothing but an emotional appetite that generates out of your stressful mind and conditions of your life.
Uncomfortable emotions or feelings are another primary trigger or factor responsible for the emotional cravings. Emotions like sadness, fear, shame, guilt, anxiety, fear, restlessness, anger, grief, etc are some common triggers which compel the affected person to eat unhealthy to get rid of those overwhelming emotions temporarily.
As it gives you immediate relaxation and pleasure so people get habituated of eating mindlessly whenever they feel low or uncomfortable at any point in time of their life.
Boredom or Loneliness
Feeling of boredom and loneliness in life is another vital triggering factor that compels a person to eat excessively in order to cope up their current situation or emotion. It is seen in many cases that people tempted to eat mindlessly to mitigate their boredom feeling.
Similarly to get rid of their loneliness or emptiness in life they get relief from eating some unhealthy snacks and foods. These foods work as a distracting agent for them which gives them relief from their weak underlying emotions such as emptiness, void, dissatisfaction, aimlessness, etc.
Sometimes social and other peer groups pressure becomes a triggering factor for the emotional appetite. In such a situation, people eat under the pressure of others or to give company to their partner or friends or family members during an event, social gathering or any kind of social influence.
Partying together is an easy way to get rid of your stress and other negative emotions but this can be proved unhealthy as well when you eat excessively forgetting about your health goal. Also sometimes people indulge in overeating in parties or in social gatherings to imitate others who are eating excessively or it is the temptation of those delicious foods that makes them overeat.
Emotional appetite doesn’t always get trigger out of the low or negative emotions only, it sometimes arises out of some pleasing and successful moments and event of life as well. People want to reward their success and improvement in their life by indulging in overeating to their favorite snacks, ice cream, sweets or any other such foods which leads them to gain excessive weight in the long run.
Self-reward feeling also sometimes arises out of our childhood memories when our parents used to reward us with a cherish cake and pastry treat whenever we scored good marks, won in any sports or any other success of the childhood life.
9 Ways to Curb Your Emotional Appetite
Practice Mindful Eating Habit
Mindful eating is a habit that remains free of any distraction such as your mobile phone, television, gossiping with a partner, etc. This distraction-free eating ensures that your full focus and priority will be your meal only till the time you are not finished with your meal.
This is a very important tool if you want to curb your emotional appetite successfully. People who eat mindlessly they often end up with excessive eating even beyond their physical hunger level.
This particularly happens because with a distracted mind while eating you completely remain unaware that how much you have eaten, whether your stomach is full or not or ready for another serving etc.
So whenever you will sit for eating food make sure that you choose a distraction-free place or silent place where you can enjoy your every bite. Chew your food well and enjoy the taste of every bite. Take small bites and practice mouthful eating. Before asking for the second serving ask yourself honestly whether you are actually hungry or it is just to satisfy your emotional appetite.
Also, the mindful eating practice will develop more control over your negative emotions of life which are the primary triggering factor for the emotional appetite or cravings. Stop eating before your plate is clean because it takes some time to get signal to your mind that your stomach is full and you no longer need to eat anymore.
This habit will take some time initially but in the long run, you will be quite accustomed to eating and will feel more comfortable with this type of eating practice. It will easily prevent you from overeating by satisfying you quite early with your active indulgence in the eating time.
Find Alternatives to Emotional Eating
Emotional eating that arises out of the emotional appetite is no way healthy for you. However, it quite seems to difficult to deal with those low and negative emotions which directly affects your mind conscious level leading to wrong food choices and overeating occurs.
Most of the dieting plan ends up with unsuccessful results because people can’t control or deal with their frequent emotional appetite feelings. So to curb this condition or issue it is vital that you look for some alternative way to cope with your emotional feelings instead of your full and solely dependency on foods and eating.
Some alternative ways that you can implement to deal with different stressful and negative circumstances of your life includes the following-
- Call your friends or relatives if you are alone at your home or feeling of loneliness is overwhelming your mind leading to rising of the emotional appetite and emotional eating thereon. When you will talk with your friends and find someone with you it will distract your mind easily. This practice will reduce and your boredom feeling, as well as loneliness, fear that provokes you to find a substitute in emotional eating.
- If you are sad or depressed then in order to distract your mind you can play some online games or video games, can play with your pet, go outside of your home in the midst of nature, watch a good entertaining movie or comedy show, call a close and reliable friend with whom you can share your feelings comfortably without any fear of judgment.
- For avoiding the emotional appetite that develops out of your exhausted mind and body, you can take a bath to refresh your mind and body, drink a hot coffee or tea, or you can take a power nap to relax your mind and body fully.
- To deal with your stress, anger, fear, and nervousness you can practice yoga, meditation and deep breathing practices which will work as an instant healer to distract your mind to the positive direction and will reduce and eliminate the risk of emotional appetite or cravings.
Exercise or Change Your Current Body Posture
Emotional appetite or cravings are nothing but a creation of your mind which doesn’t develop out of your physical hunger but only your emotions are involved in its growth. So distraction is the key to deal with such type of feeling to keep your health and life in a balanced position.
In this context, a few body movements or changing your current posture can help you tremendously. So whatever is your current body posture change it instantly whenever you feel urges to eat and you are pretty sure that this is not a call of your physical body but it is just your emotional necessity.
Changing posture will also affect your thinking pattern like you can walk within a short range of your room or office floor, stand for some time if you are sitting currently, do some light exercise where you need to focus more on your postures, etc.
These small but effective distraction measures will help you to curb your emotional appetite and will prevent you from eating excessively even at the time when your body doesn’t require to eat anything.
Maintain a Diary or Journal
In order to identify your emotional appetite triggers, you can take the help of a diary or journal in which you need to enter or write every minute detail of foods that you eat in a day. Mention the time of your eating, what you have eaten and how much you have eaten, mention the feelings that you had during the eating and your hunger level.
A regular note of your detailed eating pattern will help you to identify very easily that when and how much you are eating due to your emotional appetite and when you are eating legitimately out of your physical appetite or need.
Also, you can take the help of online apps in this regard, which gives an easy platform to enter everything and will automatically generate your eating pattern when you need to. This notebook or journal will also help you a lot if you plan to take professional help to curb your emotional appetite and emotional eating issue.
Accept the Negative Feelings and Circumstances of your Life
It is the self-acceptance and kindness that gives the energy to sustain and survive in any negative circumstances or situations in life. So along with practicing all other emotional appetite curbing methods, it is vital that you yourself learn to accept your feelings to avoid your dependency and triggers which are unhealthy for you in any way.
The reason behind emotional cravings or appetite is that you kneel down in front of your emotions and this powerless state compels you to look for some comfort zone which can distract you and ease your intolerable feelings.
Yes, it is not so easy to face those fears and emotions which are devastating for you but with practice anything is possible. As per the renowned psychologists whenever we try to suppress any feelings then instead of reducing or relieving, it gets more complex and obsessive. So it’s better you do not give much attention to any of your emotions and feelings.
This kind of practice will slowly reduce the control of different emotions over your life and mind. Hence you will learn to live with them without getting much affected and without any necessity of emotional eating to get rid of them.
Practice meditation every day as it will build strong self-control techniques to increase your control over your emotions and feelings without any dependency on any external mediums to cope with such situations.
Meditation practicing at least for 10 minutes every day in the morning is enough to keep your mind calm and stable irrespective of all the circumstances of your life. It will reduce the feelings of general anxiety, fear, depression, anger, fear or any other dominant negative feelings that urge you for the emotional appetite and eating.
The best part of meditation is that you can practice it anywhere at any point in time of the day whenever you feel that your emotions are overwhelming your mind and body. Simply focus on your breath, close your eyes for a few minutes. This mindful practice will not only help you to reach a stable mental state but will also prevent the issue of eating disorders, emotional appetite, etc.
Start practicing the above-mentioned ways to curb your emotional appetite and get rid of your emotional eating habits and its worst consequences on your health. Though it will take some time to get an expert in all these coping methods however practice can make anything possible.
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