Table of contents[Hide][Show]
Food addiction is a real problem in our modern society. Many women have it mostly guilt and shame around his weight and not being able to “control” their food. But there are solutions for the annoying craving for food and for emotional eating that can eventually reach the underlying causes of food addiction and help you heal.
The problem with food cravings and emotional feeding
Sometimes it’s okay to find pleasure in food. In fact, we are biologically designed to find pleasure in food. Eating is a necessity for survival (obviously!) And nature assures us that we continue to seek out and eat food rewarding ourselves with dopamine when we do. But in some cases, people can rely too much on food to fix dopamine and food addiction can occur.
The foods that are most often associated with food addiction are the “very tasty” ones, such as sugary, salty and fatty foods (especially the highly processed variety).
How to stop eating emotionally
Eating emotionally can be really tricky. Food is an inevitable part of life (we have to eat to survive!), So abstinence is not a possibility. Also, the food should be nice. But for some people, food can become an addiction. Here are some of the best ways to get to the bottom of emotional eating issues and improve your health.
Treat the underlying physiological problems
While emotions often play a role in food addiction, physical problems can also contribute. It is a good idea to start with physical causes, as treating deficiencies is a good idea for overall health anyway.
Eat a nutrient-dense diet
If cravings are caused by a nutrient deficiency or a poor diet, making sure you eat plenty of micronutrients (found in grass-fed and grazed fruits, vegetables, and animal products) is a good way to address possible deficiencies and improve health in general. If this does not end up being the main cause for you, you will still benefit from a healthier diet.
Some medications cause overeating and weight gain, which can start the emotional eating cycle. It is often possible to switch to a different medication or a lower dose to reduce or eliminate this side effect. Talk to your prescriber about it.
Our body is biologically connected to craving sugary, salty and fatty foods while we are under stress (after all they are high energy foods). But with the amount of chronic stress we treat most of us with, this survival response can cause more harm than good. Reduce stress by making self-care a priority every day. Take the time to do an exercise class, an hour alone at home or anything else that helps you relax and regain your balance.
Stress is related to the body’s hormones (stress causes cortisol release), but other hormonal imbalances can have similar effects. Hormone recovery is important for overall health and can also help with emotional food cravings and food. Here are some tips for hormonal balance naturally:
- Eat lots of healthy fats: The body is not made to eat artificial and highly processed fats. Stick to healthy fats like olive oil (unheated), coconut oil, olives, avocados, and grass-fed, grass-fed animal products.
- Reduce caffeine and environmental toxins: They can cause endocrine problems.
- Get plenty of sleep! – While sleeping the body, worked hard removing toxins, repairing cells and creating hormones.
- Exercise the right way: For those with hormonal imbalance, it is best to avoid intense workouts at first, until the hormones are in balance again. Doing gentle exercise like walking and swimming is good.
- Focus on leptin balance: Leptin is the master hormone, so when it’s out of balance, so is everything else.
After following these tips, you may want to continue with a hormonal balance diet.
Change the mindset around food
Many experts talk about food addiction and emotional feeding when it comes to our relationship with food. If we overeat or have emotional eating problems, we have a bad relationship with food. But Robb Wolf has a different perspective. In a podcast episode, explains that food addiction is not about a relationship with food. Wolf explains that focusing on the food aspect (and trying to control it) is not the answer.
Instead, we should find out the underlying emotional reasons for using food in an addictive way. This way, people can stop focusing on food and start healing the underlying emotional triggers.
Understand the body
Many people feel a deep guilt for emotional eating, overeating or not being able to lose weight. But Wolf explains that we need to rethink it. When we look at the history and biology of humanity, we can understand that the body was designed to look for food and food when it is found (in case there is no other opportunity).
In our modern society, this becomes problematic because foods are readily available (especially sugary, fatty and salty foods, which are very palatable). But if we think about it, those who are overweight are better suited to survival. They are able to maintain some calories in the body during times of hunger. Knowing this, we can begin to recognize that our bodies are truly fantastic and that they do exactly what they are meant to. The solution becomes more about working with the body rather than focusing on restrictions or embarrassing.
Of course, a healthy diet is important for overall health, but it is also very important for treating food cravings and emotional nourishment. As mentioned above, a nutrient-rich diet is a good place to start. Choose real foods from healthy sources like high quality protein, lots of vegetables, some healthy fruits and fats. A wide variety of whole foods is the best way to get a good variety of nutrients. Stay away from highly processed and nutrient-poor foods.
After starting a real food diet, you may need to adjust accordingly our own bioindividuality. For example, some people cannot tolerate dairy products, legumes, or certain types of fruits, and so on. Carbohydrates are a component of the diet in which people vary uncontrollably.
As Robb Wolf explained in the previous podcast episode, a low-carb diet or a ketogenic diet can be surprising for some people and disastrous for others. This is where we need to examine the research and do some work to find out how many carbs and what kind of carbs make us feel better.
Nutritionist Stephanie Dodier in another podcast episode explains that carbohydrates play a role in emotional nutrition, but that he recommends different amounts of carbohydrates for different people. Dodier recommends getting to know your body up close to see how many carbs work well for you. Experts generally advise starting with the amount of carbohydrates in a paleo diet and reducing them if necessary.
Make pleasure (healthy) a part of everyday life
Experts agree that it’s okay to use food as a pleasure occasionally, as long as it doesn’t end up being your only pleasure. If you feel like using food exclusively to feel better, it may be time to look for other enjoyable activities. Walking, meditating, spending time with friends, dating your spouse, spending time alone and watching your favorite movie are all you can include in your day and week for “time for me”.
Talk to a trusted counselor or therapist
As Robb Wolf explains in the previous podcast episode, focusing on the food aspect, when it’s not about the underlying emotional reason for the addiction, is useless. He suggests talking to a therapist to get to the bottom of the emotional connections with food.
Emotional freedom tapping
Emotional Freedom Tapping (EFT) expert Brittany Watkins explains in one podcast episode that much of what happens to emotional food happens to the subconscious. EFT can help reach and heal those underlying emotional triggers. Watkins explains that EFT, while it may seem a little strange, has its roots in science.
We store our memories in the hippocampus (which looks a bit like a sponge). We use these memories to make quick decisions about new events in our lives. For example, if as a child you fell and scratched your knee when you rode a bike too fast, you might regain that memory and think “you should brake”. If a dog bites you as a child, you may continue to retrieve that memory as long as there are dogs and you are afraid of them.
EFT accesses these memories and helps make them less intense. It has helped me tremendously and I highly recommend it trying it!
Putting it all together
Dealing with emotional eating habits may seem a little overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. You can make small changes in your diet and lifestyle as you can and seek additional help from a therapist. or other professionals.
Do you recognize the patterns of emotional eating in your life? How about food cravings?