Why do we eat even when we are not hungry? We talked about Jasmina Knežević, PhD in Psychology, and Jelena Blanuša, psychologist, author of the book, about ways to link our psyche and diet. Psyche and food: why we eat and when we are not hungry (Psychopolis)
What exactly is emotional hunger?
Emotional hunger is an excessive tendency to “resolve” emotions and stressful situations with food. We take food to defend ourselves from emotions and unpleasant situations such as anxiety, depression, frustration, feelings of emptiness, boredom, anger, helplessness, feelings of overload, feelings of guilt, feelings of confusion, jealousy, disgust, etc. or to reinforce existing positive emotions: pleasure, joy, enjoyment. However, emotional hunger can also be an unconscious need for a pleasant emotion or object, or it can also represent a mask, an ideal, an idea, something we want to achieve.
How do we perceive whether hunger is real or emotional?
Physiological hunger occurs gradually, with a slight discomfort in the first stomach, if we do not satisfy the hunger, it intensifies until light physical pain. Many complain of headaches, feelings of weakness, or dizziness when the body indicates a need for food. We are ready to satisfy our hunger for different options and different foods. Emotional hunger occurs in an instant and reflects the need for a specific food. The great need for food must be satisfied immediately, and the intake of food is rapid, often unconscious, and in large quantities. When we satisfy our emotional hunger, we often feel guilty, guilty, or have internal voices to blame.
Why do we eat even when we are not hungry? What emotions can be the reason for reaching for food, even if we are not hungry?
When we are nervous, sad, sad, desperate, missing something, or bored, we get food. Through some experiences, we have learned that food gives us some “emotional rewards”: it reduces anxiety, anxiety, emptiness … and creates pleasure. Loneliness and alienation are also “compensated” with food. Some eat it long and plentiful when they are alone, as if they were walking with food.
How can a psychologist help us change our attitude towards nutrition?
To change your attitude towards food, it is important to understand the dynamics of the psyche. What does food mean to us, what symbolism does it hide? What emotions and feelings do we have after eating emotionally and how important is that to us? In addition, the psychologist helps to build a healthy eating attitude, better identify needs, and strengthen self-regulation (self-control) of nutrition.
How do habits change? Can you list specific techniques that can help?
Habit is an automated behavior (routine) that occurs on an unconscious level and we don’t need to think about. The habit of eating a certain food or eating it at a certain time was created by repeating the behavior and linking support (reward) to that behavior. For example, someone who ate a cake in the company of a friend after work during a long stay at a seminar took up the habit of sweetening it after lunch. After lunch, a cake was served each time, and this behavior was supported in two ways: the sweet taste of the cake and the friendly atmosphere.
Habits can change how they work and if we understand what the trigger is and what the reward for a particular behavior is, what is repeated and what happens semi-consciously. However, it should be noted that the process of changing habits is not easy and requires effort, willpower, perseverance, greater awareness and a plan for change.
Finally, can you suggest an exercise that will help us become aware of our attitude toward food?
An effective exercise is to write a food story – My Food Story. The purpose of this paper is to introduce thoughts and thoughts about food. Because what we think about food is just as important as what we eat. So write your story, and when you write it, put it in the role of an editor who looks at what you’ve written. Pay special attention to all the critical and negative notes about food that you have written. Change, smooth. Changing one’s inner self-dialogue and self-esteem will also make the path to a change in eating attitude less stressful and arduous.
Also read … What is emotional hunger and how to end it
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