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Nutrition is Purely Emotional!

Eating is one of people's most basic activities. However, this basic activity has psychological significance as well as biological necessity. When eating behavior is examined psychologically, we can only talk about emotional eating when it does not express nutrition. Negative emotions such as stress, sadness, and loneliness that we have difficulty coping with can lead us to undermine our emotions.

Hunger in the early days of life is the earliest “suffering”, while satiation is the earliest “relief”. Babies feel their first sense of relief by getting rid of the physical discomfort caused by hunger through breastfeeding. Thus, the feeding of hunger establishes a deep connection to the feeling of being good and safe. As life progresses, this bond can become a pattern of behavior that people use to avoid negative emotions in the face of problems. At a time when we are psychologically weaker, when faced with a challenge, eating to cope with all these is an emotional nutrition.

People who avoid confronting their problems and do not seek solutions can only desensitize themselves in the face of problems by eating food. Firstly, steps should be taken to solve the problems. The first step in combating emotional eating is to define the feeling of hunger.

There is a difference between physical hunger and emotional hunger:

* While physical hunger appears slowly, emotional hunger suddenly occurs, you suddenly feel the need to eat something.

* Physical hunger can wait, emotional hunger must be met immediately when felt, you cannot wait.

* If you eat because of physical hunger, you can stop when you are full, but if you eat because of emotional hunger, you want to continue eating even if you are full.

* If you really eat because of hunger, you are open to many options, but when you eat because of emotional hunger, you usually eat high-calorie foods such as pizza, chocolate, sweets, and chips.

Emotions such as stress, sadness and anger, the desires which lead to emotional eating, turn into feelings of regret, guilt and failure as a result of the high calorie foods consumed.

How can I stop emotional eating?

Realize your emotional eating moments. Focus on the feelings you feel before the moments when you're not hungry but want something to eat. Writing down your feelings before you eat something will help you.

Rate your hunger between 0 and 10 when you feel the need to eat. If your hunger level is low and you just want to eat because you're bored or stressed, drink a glass of water first and try to delay eating for 10 minutes.

Use different ways to deal with problems. Make a list of what you can do as an alternative when the urge to eat comes when you're not hungry. These should be relaxing activities (e.g. listening to music, walking..etc. ).

If you can't cope with the urge to eat, eat healthy ones instead of high calorie foods. You can add green leafy vegetables, fish, and almonds, which are known to reduce stress, to your list.

Increase the activities you enjoy doing in your life. Do not ignore to do physical exercise. In this way, it will make it easier for you to deal with your negative emotions.

Clinical Psychologist / Asiye Nurnihan YURDAKUL