How To Combat Emotional Eating This Winter

Mood rhymes with food and stressed is “desserts” spelled backwards, as the saying goes, but emotional eating is no joke; in fact, it’s a big problem for many of us.

RELATED: Do You Suffer From Orthorexia?

How often do you find yourself, when stressed, tired, upset and/or angry, reaching for that chocolate bar, slice of cake or packet of chips? I’m certainly guilty of this when feeling super anxious – add it in a bottle of wine and it’s a pity party for one!

There’s surely not a woman (or man) alive who hasn’t fallen prey to emotional/comfort eating. So, how do we stop eating our emotions? Are there practical ways we can actually fight the urge to eat our feelings this winter?

Even my GP says she has to fight the urge to comfort eat. And her best advice on how to do this is to get out of the kitchen; distract yourself with a task which involves using your hands; do something which makes you feel good, such as a pampering hair or face mask and/or painting your nails; and/or eat nutritious, regular meals to combat emotional eating and overeating.

emotional eating, comfort eatiing, nutritionist advice

Meanwhile, leading Sydney dietitian, nutritionist and author Susie Burrell (pictured) says emotional eating is, by definition, “periods of abnormal eating behaviour which have been triggered in response to a particular mood state such as sadness, loneliness or anger.”
In addition, she says sufferers find their emotional discomfort is then temporarily lessened once they eat; with super sweet or salty food the common modus operandi.

So, why is emotional eating bad for us? Obviously, the sweet relief, pardon the pun, is all too fleeting, but Susie says there are serious health risks at play too.

“Weight gain is a problem if excessive calories are consumed, but more importantly in the case of emotional eating the underlying emotional distress is not being identified and managed appropriately. Long-term depressed mood and distress, left unmanaged, can develop into significant health issues,” she says.

“And other dangers can include low mood and energy levels; fatigue, inability to concentrate; and long-term nutrient deficiencies and girls at risk of developing a clinical eating disorder.”

emotional eating, comfort eatiing, nutritionist advice

So, what’s a healthy food relationship? Susie’s top tips to stop comfort/emotional eating include:

  • Eating when you are hungry and stopping when you are full.
  • Maintaining a healthy body weight.
  • Eating regular meals and snacks every 3-4 hours.
  • Not being obsessed with eating and food.
  • If you really do not want to eat it, do not keep it in the house.

What do you think? Do you eat to ease emotional pain and distress?

 Images via blog.aarp.org, blisstree.com

May 25, 2015

Would You Wear a Bra That Detects Emotional Overeating?

You know how it goes…you’ve had a stressful day and you reach for the Tim-Tams. And before you know it, the packet is finished, and you’re licking crumbs off the couch. And hating yourself in the morning.

Microsoft Research has invented a bra that aims to detect emotional overeating, and curb cravings. The battery-powered bra is equipped with sensor pads that monitors the wearer’s moods and stream information to a smartphone app.

The sensors capture heart rate, respiration, skin conductance and movement. By both recording moods on a smartphone app and collecting data from the bra-sensors, the scientists could predict changes in physiology that accompany eating and stress, including whether the subjects are happy or angry. The bra also sends a tweet when the bra is removed.

While most stress-eaters are women, more than half the U.S. population has admitted to stress-eating, which then leads to a cycle of putting on weight, getting stressed and eating more, causing obesity.

In fact one of the researchers tried to invent the same type of stress-detecting device for men’s underwear, but it wouldn’t work because it was too far away from the heart.

Would you wear a bra that monitors emotional overeating?

December 5, 2013