We’ve all done it. It’s the end of a working week, we’re tired and stressed and possibly burnt out from the heavy workload we’ve been facing. We go home, we bury ourselves in a hot shower or bath and we pour that amazing glass of lustrous red wine and grab the share size (ahem, for one) bag of chocolate from the fridge. Sinking down onto the comfortable couch, wine, chocolate and remote in hand, we breathe out. Sounds brilliant doesn’t it? Wrong. That sounds like emotional eating.
Emotional eating is turning to food or alcohol for comfort, stress relief, or as a reward rather than to satisfy hunger. Most emotional eaters feel powerless over their food cravings. When the urge to eat hits, it’s all you can think about and it can feel a bit overwhelming. There are of course companies out there like radwellnesscentre.com that support detoxes to get us out of bad habits but sometimes that can take sheer will power alone. On the other hand, mindful eating is a practice that develops your awareness of eating habits and allows you to pause between your triggers and your actions. You can then change the emotional habits that have sabotaged your diet in the past.
If you ever – and let’s be honest here, we all do! – made room for pudding even though you’re full from dinner, or dove into a carton of Ben and Jerry’s with no intention to share it when you’re feeling down, you’ve experienced emotional eating. It’s using food to make yourself feel better and filling emotional needs rather than to fill your stomach. Using food from time to time as a pick me up or to celebrate isn’t necessarily a bad thing. We all love a birthday cake round in the office now and again. But when eating is the first thing you turn to when the going gets tough, then it’s a problem. You get stuck into an unhealthy cycle where the real feeling or problem is never addressed.
Companies like radwellnesscentre.com can advise on the best ways to overhaul your diet and foods to avoid but if you want longevity post detox, then you need to understand your reasons for turning to food. Eating may feel great in the moment: that temporarily sweet release of tension into a Danish is oh so yummy but not lasting. You need to address the issues going forward so that you have a better and healthier relationship with food. That’s not to say you should cut out foods you enjoy, but learn that food is not a cure for emotional stress or trauma in the same way turning to alcohol can lead to a serious and damaging addiction. Food and sugar have that same power if you allow it to and that’s what emotional eating is all about: not allowing it to be a vice. Being more mindful in your food choices going ahead will lead you better in life altogether.