Do you make a beeline for the fridge after a disagreement with a friend, or a bad day at work? You could be addicted to the feel-good chemicals dopamine and serotonin released when we consume sugar and fat. It’s called emotional eating. And, it might not be so bad if we were able to stop after a few bites. But strong feelings of anger, anxiety, and sadness dull our taste buds. Which means, it takes a lot of junk food to give our brain the fix it craves. Here’s how to stop emotional eating:
Keep comfort foods out of reach. Dietician Cynthia Sass suggests putting your high calorie, high fat “problem foods” somewhere that’s hard to reach – like a high shelf you need a stepstool to reach. Often, making it even slightly tough to grab a snack is enough to make us realize we’re eating on autopilot.
Before you start hunting for chips or ice cream, close your eyes and breathe deeply. Cardiologist, Dr. Mehmet Oz, says that taking 10 slow, deep breaths tricks our body into thinking we’re going to sleep, which makes us relax and that’s often all our body needs to let go of a craving. Dr. Oz says it may feel awkward at first - but it really works.
Have a cup of tea. Research shows that drinking black tea can cut levels of the stress hormones that triggers emotional eating in HALF. And once you’re all mellow and relaxed, you won’t need to eat to feel better.
Massage your feet. According to a study in the International Journal of Neuroscience, rubbing your feet for 60 seconds floods the body with calming dopamine and serotonin – no food necessary. In fact, you can massage both feet at once by grabbing an exercise noodle – or a couple of tennis balls – and using your feet to roll them around the floor.