Life, as the Australian pop punk band, 5 Seconds of Summer, once said is “…a tangled web of cellphone calls and hashtag I-don’t-knows.” As much as you want the day to be perfect — a mishap or two is definitely part of the future.
With deadlines to beat, bosses to please, and daily doses of family drama (let’s not forget relationship troubles), immediate comfort is a must. It’s no wonder a number of Modern Filipinas love to binge eat their stresses away.
Comfort foods are definite godsends; what better way to deal with your problems than by indulging in pizza or cakes? There is, however, a big difference between light snacking and light snacking…to the nth level.
Eating Your Feels Out
After an emotional ordeal, do you find yourself prioritizing a side of fries over healthier options? Are you the type who heads straight for a bag of chips to relieve yourself from sadness, boredom or stress?
If you said yes to both, emotional eating is your game.
Your body is not a dummy — there’s a reason it wants to indulge in a slice of cake. There are times when you are physically vulnerable to certain triggers, such as periods of stress. Chronic stress episodes encourage elevated cortisol levels, which makes your body think it’s going through a famine. As a result, it increases your cravings.
The Search for Comfort
Biology isn’t the only primary suspect behind emotional eating. Since day one, we’ve associated food with comfort — doctors handing out lollipops after injections, teachers rewarding students with ice creams, and parents taking the kids out for good grades.
The thought sticks, even when you reach adulthood. Whenever you’re down because of work or relationships, you resort to eating your heart out. Why not? With all the stresses life has to offer, you deserve this!
Gorging on pizza, however, every time the emotions trigger isn’t the best health regimen for your body.
The Counter Attack
When stress starts to affect your appetite and your waistline, it’s time to stop ridding the fridge of its contents. Raiding the cupboard for treats is good every now and then, but keeping “comfort foods” handy invites more trouble.
Don’t just remedy stress with food. Here are some effective counterattacks for emotional eating:
- Exercise: high-intensity exercises increase your cortisol levels temporarily, but low-intensity exercise reduces them. Some activities, such as tai chi or yoga, not only burns fat, it also keeps you distracted from food through mediation.
- Socialize: when times are tough, don’t just turn to food. Instead, turn to friends and family who listen.
The next time life gives you lemons, don’t think lemon pie. In short, don’t immediately assume it’s hunger when you feel the craving — just think: stress lang to. Remember, there are plenty of ways to deal with stress and eating isn’t always one of them.