Hey there beauties,

After reading your messages about my posts on nutrition, writing about emotional eating was the next post to do. Many of you told me that you find hard keeping on track. So, what is some ways to stay away from comfort food?

I know it can be a big struggle trying to change your habits, especially when there is so much going on in your life…because, Hey! Life is never perfect! How many times have you found yourself unhappy eating ice cream or peanut butter from the tub? And what about this uncontrolled grazing state? Or the crazy cravings you have? I certainly had a lot of these moments in my life and I can not always blame PMS for that!

I don’t know if this will make you feel better, but you are not alone…in fact, I haven’t met someone so far who has total control over emotional eating! We are just humans, and it’s scientifically proven that we are not always eating just for energy. Stressful emotions somehow lead us to food…

It might be this important call you were waiting for the job interview, the fight with the boyfriend, the uncertainty of a new date or a major change is your life. Other times, it can be just the fact that you are so tired after a long day, and you only wish for a movie night with wine and chips. In any case, it’s just one of those times you turn to food for an instant dose of happiness! Why do we find happiness in food? As a mind and body coach, I’ve done a little bit of research and today I’ll like to share with you some facts 🙂

During emotional times, we tend to consume more fat (hence more calories) than we usually do and here is the proof. A few years ago, scientists from the University of Wurzburg in Germany conducted an experiment on 48 women and 32 men aged 19 to 47. The participants of the study were exposed to three different videos including a sad one, a happy one and a neutral one. After each video, the participants were asked to taste five different sensations: sweet, umami (a taste for identifying protein rich foods), sour, bitter and fatty in varying intensity levels. Summing up, the participants were able to successfully detect the varying intensity levels in all sensations, with exception of the fatty ones, following the sad video. The participants were not able to detect whether the taste samples were high in fat content or not, as effectively as those who had watched the happy or neutral videos. In simple words, when we are sad, we keep eating fatty food without really feeling that he had enough!

Another study from the University of Leuven, published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, explains how comfort foods rich in fat minimize sad feelings. Eating fat can decrease feelings of sadness, having an effect on both our behavior and our responses to negative emotions. The study proved that our emotions affect our hunger and the amount of food we consume. The research also indicated that individuals who were sad, were feeling hungrier, but when they were in a neutral emotional state, were feeling less hungry.

Being mindful or your eating behavior is a good indicator of your emotional health in general. According to a study from the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and the University of Granada, published in the Public Health Nutrition journal, people who ate junk food were 51 percent more likely to develop depression. Almudena Sánchez-Villegas, lead author of the study, specifically stated that: “The more fast food you consume, the greater the risk of depression”.

Another reason for your cravings and overeating can be a lack of specific micronutrients such as Thiamine, Iron and Folic acid, which affect a person’s mood and physical state in a negative way. Adopting a balanced and healthy diet rich in essential vitamins and minerals will increase your resistance to comfort food.

Unfortunately, regardless of the reasons for feeling stressed or unhappy, emotional eating doesn’t fill in the void. In fact, emotional eating makes us feel less empowered and guilty for overeating. When it becomes a habit we just add another problem in our lives and a lot of extra weight. If you want to live on the happy side of things, self-awareness and inner understanding is the key 😉 

On my next blog post I’ll be sharing with you the best strategies for avoiding turning into comfort food.

Until then stay tuned and make sure you keep that smile on your face,

Sofia x

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