The idea of polishing off a cheesy pizza or relishing a blueberry cheesecake at 1 am does make us feel better. It seems like the perfect coping mechanism to spring out of misery. Got cheated on? Nothing like a pint of Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough! Fought with your childhood friend? Chips will fix it all. Feeling utterly unproductive? Maybe start with a better routine, but first, let me savour some spicy Chinese!
Stress eating has become a common phenomenon. Binge eating foods with high-carbohydrate, high-calorie foods with the low nutritional value might is more detrimental to mental and physical well-being than a treat for the taste buds. This is the unhealthiest way of dealing with unpleasant feelings. Humans usually want to make their lives easier, resolving issues is a cognitive load, so turning to a momentary pleasures wins it all.
Tell me more, and oh wait let me bring some Doritos while I read
The sheer happiness derived from food outweighs the health repercussions. Come on! Who wants to accept the situation? Call that person, then meet, sort it? No, my pizza arrives in less than 30 minutes- win-win! Unfortunately, donuts do not meet your deadlines, nor do they clear the air with your partner. Sorry! These foods are super fatty and sugar-laden – not the best news for your body. Moreover, these extra calories will sadden you, even more, leading to guilt, drawing you towards more stress eating. So you see? The cycle is endless.
Your phone is a culprit too…
The endless and intrusive push notifications from Zomato and Swiggy add on to our stress eating. I mean, they hire the best content writers who are invariably well versed with the “food vocabulary”. The beautiful e-mailers with photos of crispy chicken burger that says “Hey, relish me at 50%” offer valid only today. Such messages on a Tuesday afternoon get you ticking, and somehow the payment is made, and now you’re guiding your Valet to your home. True story? These apps are privy of our moods, favourite cuisines, special occasions and even menstrual cycles.
On a serious note…
It is imperative to address our issues in the right manner, involving appropriate conflict resolution with people and self. Suppressing emotions won’t help, keeping issues on the back burner will add on to the existing stress. Excessive stress eating can cause lifestyle disorders too, which will come at a high cost financially, emotionally as well as physically. Occasionally, indulging in junk food as a way of celebrating a promotion or a vacation is acceptable. But not to binge eat our troubles away. These unhealthy ways can even ruin our relations with friends, family and even at the workplace. The vicious cycle perpetuates, keeping the heap of problems at bay.
- Think thrice before swiggy-ing that butter chicken roll on a Thursday night. Try and sort your issues, dig deep into all that is currently disturbing you.
- Look at alternatives to feel better: A hot shower, talking to a friend, an episode of F.R.I.E.N.D.S (just one), read a book, write about your feelings- a great idea
- Identify what triggers you to resort to food for emotional relief, understand this cycle and come up with better solutions to feel better.
- Mindful eating is vital for your well-being, savour the flavours, identify the ingredients, and notice the texture. Eat slowly to let your senses relish the meal for a wholesome culinary experience.
- Turn to professional help if it gets out of control. People feel powerless when it comes to food; the emotions take charge feeling trapped in the emotional eating cycle.
- Go for healthy habits like sorting issues, yoga, a 7-8 hour long sleep, nourish your body with fruits and veggies, meditation, the list won’t end!
REMEMBER- There are no short cuts to feeling better, food serves as a momentary joy but leaves a hollow impact. The process of facing our fears can be overwhelming, mostly unpleasant but reaps the most benefit too!