When we eat, we usually do it because we feel hungry. However, there are times when we eat for an emotional matter. Knowing how to distinguish why we are eating is necessary, especially if you have noticed a certain compulsiveness when eating. Also, you will understand better how your body works. For this, it is important to know how to differentiate the types of hunger. Have you heard of physiological hunger and emotional hunger?
Differences between physiological hunger and emotional hunger
First, we will define physiological hunger. It is known to be regulated by a series of hormonal and metabolic parameters. These are responsible for alerting the brain when: we have an empty stomach or when our blood glucose levels are low or when our fat reserves are decreased. If there are no genetic or environmental changes disrupting this process, hunger regulation should always work properly.
Instead, emotional hunger refers to all the emotions that come into play when choosing and eating a certain type of food. Emotions are also genetically based but can be regulated in different ways with psychological intervention.
Why do we eat when we have anxiety?
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that generates, among other positive effects, the pleasure. For this reason, eating palatable foods (rich in fat and sugar like chocolate or rich in fat and salt like sausages) make us feel better momentarily.
Learning to be aware of how you feel before, during and after eating will lead you to self-knowledge. In this way, you may end up deducing that food will not solve the problem of your initial discomfort and that it only calms your emotions momentarily. Professional help is often a great resource to more fully address the problem.
When emotional hunger appears, it is very important to identify what emotion is leading us to eat. It can be boredom, sadness, tiredness, and even joy. When we ask ourselves if we are eating to feel relieved or to seek pleasure, we are bringing the reasons for our behavior to the conscious plane and we are able to switch off the autopilot. So it is when we can reflect if we really want to do what we are doing. Of course, the conversation we have with ourselves will determine to a great extent what we do later.
Once we have identified the emotion, you can write it down trying to specify the reason for that emotion. For example, I am stressed because I am not comfortable at work. If it is in your hands to change the situation, try to write down what you should do to improve the reason for your discomfort. If you cannot change it, you can try to replace the negative emotion with another one, doing an activity that produces well-being, such as showering, playing sports, receiving massages, listening to music, etc .; Breathing consciously can help you relax, as well as having a tea or a glass of water. Allow a little time and, after 10 minutes, re-evaluate your emotions. If you finally decide to eat that cookie or chocolate or sausage, do it, but consciously and intentionally. And, above all … enjoying the moment!
Resources to not get carried away by anxiety
- Avoid restrictive diets like those that eliminate carbohydrates.
- After eating something healthy, get ready to do a task that you had pending or take advantage of physical exercise that has a beneficial effect on your body and your mind.
- Drink water and teas that help you relax, such as lime, lemon balm or hops, and will also help you improve your digestion. Then breathe easy.
- Avoid unhealthy foods at home. That is, avoid buying cookies, pastries, sweets, ice creams or cold meats high in sugars, fat, and salt.
- Ensure a minimum of 5 healthy meals a day. In the main meals, try to have both vegetables and vegetables, as they are rich in fiber and will keep you satiated throughout the day. For mid-morning and mid-afternoon you can opt for fruit, for the same reason.
- Distribute these 5 healthy meals every three or four hours approximately, this way you will get to the next meal without being voraciously hungry.
- Hard foods like carrots and apples promote chewing and satiety.
- Chew little by little, enjoying the taste and texture of the food and remember that the satiety signal takes about 30 minutes, so do not eat quickly.
- Don’t lose your connection with food, avoid distractions like mobile or television. Eat consciously, thinking about the ingredients that make up the food and also the origin of them.
- Avoid going shopping or making the shopping list on an empty stomach. Thus, you will avoid buying more palatable foods, that is, richer in fats, sugars, and salt.
This last point also allows us to verify that physiological and emotional hunger are interrelated. Thus, it is important to have a balanced diet throughout the day. Remember that good habits are the ones that will help you improve both your physical and mental health.
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