The reason we stress eat is because it works. We get a dopamine response from the food, but the thing is it only works for 10 minutes. If we give ourselves a 10 minute pause, we will notice that the stress craving might go away.
In this episode I talk with Katie Gill, from Katie Gill Wellness, on how to ditch emotional eating. Katie is a registered dietitian and nutritionist and helps busy professionals find sustainable ways to become the healthiest version of themself.
Emotional Eating: Why It Happens
As Katie explains, emotional eating is when you reach for food and it is not related to hunger. It’s often a craving for a very specific food or brand of food. Emotional eating can happen even if you are full.
Not all emotional eating is negative though! When you are sharing a dessert with a loved one, or having dessert after a big holiday dinner, that can be a very positive experience. It’s when emotional eating turns to stress eating that we need to find alternatives to managing stress so we are not always reaching for food.
The stress eat because it works. Food gives us a dopamine response that makes us happy. Unfortunately, that happy feeling lasts only about 10 minutes…and that is why we then reach for more food. Here are the reasons we might stress eat:
Different emotions can trigger different food cravings as well. When we are seeking comfort, we might reach for softer foods such as ice cream or pudding. When we are frustrated, crunchy foods might be what we crave the most.
How to Stop Emotional Eating from Becoming Habitually Eating
Emotional eating from stress can quickly becoming habitually eating. Katie gives great advice to wait 10 minutes when you feel the urge to reach from food from stress. Here are some others things to do that might bring pleasure and or relaxation when you feel the need to grab that salty or sugary snack:
- Do some light exercise such as walking or dancing.
- Take a cold or hot shower to relieve stress.
- Listen to music – anything that makes you happy!
- Look at meaningful photos like a past vacation or a vacation you are dreaming of going on!
If after 10 minutes, you still crave the food, go for it. Don’t deny yourself, but you will probably find that you will eat less of that sugar or savory food than when the craving hits.
Connect with Katie for Nutrition Advice
Katie advises to not wait until things are spiraling out of control to seek out information from a dietician. It’s always a great time to get nutrition advice to see how things you are doing (or eating) can be tweaked and fine-tuned for a better you.