We’ve all (as women, at least) been there. Reached for that pastry in a moment of vulnerability, when we know we’ve probably had enough of a sweet intake for the day; yet we rationalise it as “I had a tough day,” or “Oh no, he didn’t call”.  Let’s think about this for a minute. We reach for that pastry with the intention of feeling good, yet that feeling typically only lasts for a moment.

Once the powdery remnants of that sugary treat are dusted from our lips, most of us experience a “sugar crash,” the term used to describe the state of fatigue often experienced after one eats a sugary or carbohydrate-infested meal. The rise and subsequent fall in blood glucose levels is what leads to a state of irritability, lethargy, or what I like to call, a “sugar hangover.”

And is this “emotional eating.”  When we experience a void, we usually fill it with food. As women, we must learn to disassociate from emotional eating through conscientious eating. Ask yourself, why am I eating this pastry? Is it because I truly crave it or is it because I am feeling stressed about something? If the latter, take a step back and consider the before and after. If in the after state, you are likely to be worse off than the before, you may wish to reconsider. Point is, think about your intentions and act accordingly.

Emotional eating can best be kept at bay if one deals with their emotions constructively.  Personally, one of my most effective ways to vent is through physical exercise – be it at the gym, dancing, or simply brisk walking – as the release of endorphins is exactly what I need to make myself feel better, the natural way.

My easy, two-step guide to combatting emotional eating:

  1. Be self-aware: Keep track of your emotions and eating habits.  Do you only eat when you’re hungry? Do you indulge when feeling anxious, stressed, or the like? Notice any patterns in your behaviour and keep a journal. Keeping a journal of exactly what you eat will help you notice any habits and patterns that you otherwise would not have. I like to call this exercise “Stop and Reflect.” Taking some time out of your schedule to record your eating habits allows you to exert more control over what you ultimately put in your mouth.
  2. Deal with emotions constructively: Finding non-eating methods by which to feel better is paramount to a healthy lifestyle. You can substitute stress eating through some of the following methods
  • Physical exercise: Exercise releases endorphins, which helps to boost your mood. This is the surest way of feeling better – even momentarily. So, get moving!
  • Breathe: Quite the opposite of the above, breathing exercises help to calm and centre oneself. It is that much more difficult to engage in emotional eating when in a calm state than when in an anxious state where judgement is often clouded.
  • Drink up: Sometimes, we just think we are hungry when all we really need is some hydrating! Drinking water or sipping on other liquids such as herbal teas can help quell our seemingly hungry state.

BOE Magazine