7 ways to beat emotional eating this winter

Dr. Siddhant Bhargava, co-founder and nutritional scientist, Food Darzee, tells you how to curb winter triggers

By: Dr Siddhant Bhargava

We often indulge in mindless munching, to get rid of an anxious circumstance or as a quick fix for a bad mood. Munching releases restful dopamine in the brain and temporarily makes us feel better. However, the actual issue begins when the urge to use food, which enables us to feel better, turns into an integral habit that’s difficult to change.

According to studies, winter is that season of the year, when comfort binging turns into an overdrive.

Here are some ways that can help you stop emotional gorging during this season.

1. Understand the reasons behind your hunger
In colder months, it is natural to feel hungry frequently. People feel attracted towards foods that are high in calories. It is important to understand what the longing for a certain kind of food means. The key is to look for solutions or to redirect that hunger towards better ways of nourishments.

When facing a craving, ask yourself questions like,
--What are alternate ways, that I can warm myself up? 
--What are the alternate activities, instead of eating?
--Am I feeling hungry because of feeling cold?

2. Reconsider your hunger scale
Most times we aren’t sure if we are really hungry or what exactly hunger feels like. If you are doubtful about your craving in terms of if it being emotional or real, then rate your level of emptiness on a parameter of 1 to 10. If you are on a scale of 3 or 4, which means you are slightly hungry, yet, if your craving still continues, you must divert yourself by engaging in some activity.

3. Express what you are craving for
Feelings and thoughts have a connection. Express or speak about a food longing or craving. This will help to get rid of the emotional response to a food craving. It will also take away the power from that urge of binging on calorie-rich foods.

4. Eat or drink while seated
An intelligent way of eating attentively is while being seated at the table without the disruptions of work or a television. By eating thoughtfully, we give our stomach the chance to feel satiated to its capacity. On the other hand, by eating fast before comprehending our food, we tend to over eat.

5. Practise mindfulness
Mindfulness is a necessity for protecting emotional eating. It is crucial to recognise feelings in a particular moment and learning how to handle it in various ways. It also helps us to become more aware of whether we are truly or emotionally hungry. Meditation, breathing exercises and yoga, are countless ways to improve skills of mindfulness.

6. Know what triggers you to overeat
Be attentive of the periods when you are likely to overindulge. Knowing your triggers will give you a one-up on emotional eating, so you can either avoid stimulating such situations or ensure you are well protected the next time you are vulnerable.

7. Learn to halt prior to eating
After understanding mindful eating, learn the act of taking a pause, a moment, when you feel the urge to emotionally binge. Also keep a watch on your tiredness levels, as this too leads to seeking out food high in fats and sugars for instant energy.

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