Food nourishes our body and mind. It gives us energy to help us complete our activities during the day. Food is a celebration, it’s a reason to bring people together and create lasting memories. During these lovely moments with our families and loved ones, or when we are just happy and at peace with the entire world, we almost forget about food. We feel so inspired, that food becomes our fuel rather than the main event of the day.
On the other hand, we can also form an unhealthy relationship with food when we experience negative emotions. We can start to use food for comfort, or as a way to calm ourselves, or protect ourselves. Food can be an escape or a relief that unfortunately lasts only fleetingly.
These negative emotions are often the reason why we overeat and are unable to sustain a healthy regime.
The hardest part is, in these moments, we can tend to crave the more unhealthier foods: the ones that are sweet, high in fat, or processed.
If you’re interested in finding out more about which emotions lead to overeating, this article explores these topics in more detail, especially how to embrace these emotions, and act with more kindness and self-love during these challenging times.
Not only will you start to see the issue solved at the root, but you will be able to stop the vicious cycle of feeling guilt or shame for what you eat. This is key to a healthy relationship with food.
Emotions & Tips:
- Boredom: When we feel bored and uninspired, we can resort to eating food to kill time. This can result in eating at random times, snacking on sweet or salty treats both at work or at home to distract ourselves from our tasks. It’s procrastination 1-0-1.
My tip is to kick this habit by creating a new healthy habit that has something to do with movement. Let’s get physical! Only by engaging and moving our body can we keep our mind occupied. This could be as simple as a quick walk in the park, or doing your favourite workout. These physical activities can boost your creativity and inspiration.
- Loneliness: Sometimes it can feel like there’s a gaping hole inside us. Loneliness is one of the key causes of this feeling. During these times, food quickly becomes a friend, but just as quickly becomes an enemy. We try to fill the void with food, but it only lasts so long. Coming to terms with this realisation is already step one. It’s okay.
When you feel alone, try and put your favourite song on, call a friend and talk to them about your emotions, or sign up for a creative class. It’s important to think outside the box, and introduce something inspiring into your routine. Maybe there’s a new hobby out there for you!
- Stress: A calm mind is a powerful mind. When we’re peaceful we know exactly what is good for ourselves, we think clearly and we know how to tackle any obstacle we may face.
Stress however, can make us react fast – sometimes with anger and without thinking. The same goes for life: when we’re stressed, we think we don’t have time to do our grocery shop, cook, exercise, or relax.
When I have these days I like to list what is making me stressed and try to work through each point. By emptying our mind with the power of writing, we’re then able to prioritise what we need to do and can start to find a solution, rather than continuing to worry.
Problem solving is a great way to keep your mind focused and calm and will result in you feeling centred and empowered. This will automatically help you make better food choices too.
A balanced mind creates a balanced plate!
Sadness: This is a similar feeling to loneliness. When we feel sad, we need comfort and we tend to look for it in sweet foods.
Gratitude is the best antidote for this. Finding something to be grateful for, even when we’re sad, can help bring us up and out of “the funk”. Try and write a list of three to ten things that you’re grateful for. At the end of the day, try and recall the best thing that happened to you.
I understand it can be hard to see the positive things around you when you’re feeling low, but look closely and you will find a number of things. Gratitude is a powerful technique that many authors, scientists and successful people use in order to keep going through difficulties.
- Lack of self esteem/confidence: This is a tough one. Insecurity, comparing yourself, and feelings of not being enough are all triggering when it comes to overeating. During these moments, one key thing is to remember all the compliments you’ve received, all the positive messages people have said to you, and the things you’ve achieved so far.
Listing your accomplishments and goals will start to improve your confidence and belief in yourself. Keep the list with you, perhaps in your pocket and read it throughout the day, especially if you have an important meeting, exam, or audition coming up. I’m sure the list will grow!
We are all human and these emotions are part of our life. We just need to be able to recognise them and embrace them with kindness and love.
So if you’re thinking of starting a new diet, please just check in with yourself first, see how you’re feeling, and try to look at things with a holistic approach. Think of the things that bring you joy, think of your career, your relationships, your spiritual aspect of life. If you can incorporate any of the above tips, you’ll see a positive change to your relationship with food and diet. Just give your body a chance to feel happier, healthier and energetic again!
Embrace the journey because you will discover so many things about yourself.
“Maybe the happy ending is simply you loving you?”