i-Crave!! – Ever Wondered the Whys of Emotional Eating – Obsessive Compulsive Eating – Binge Eating – Un-explained Food cravings???

Very often, when taking the initial history of my patients, I find them helpless, clueless and wondering why they crave foods that make them Fat!! Just 2 days back, I was counselling a 17 yr old girl, who was visibly overweight and she told me – “Doc, I know it is not good for me- but I still eat that entire big bag of chips or the entire big box of chocolates in one sitting, when I am upset with my mum.. I just cannot stop myself at a few pieces.. I feel so angry, so helpless! Help me.. Please!!”

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Been in this phase at some point in my own life – I knew exactly what she was telling me. Haven’t we heard of someone going through something similar or even haven’t we ourselves experienced emotional eating like this at some point?? Have we not already realized that our state of mind can affect our food choices and this is true the other way round too!!! This link between food and mood has been established by so many scientific studies.

Haven’t you ever wondered why we crave certain foods during certain moods? What do these Food Cravings even mean??

Cravings for food are a sign that there exists a certain disturbance in the body and there are unresolved emotions that are looking for peace and balance. Very often today our cravings arise from emotional imbalances. Taking this one step deeper – actually, whenever there are disturbances inside of us, we receive an inner guidance – like a gut feeling or an idea or simply our inner voice guiding us to change the situation, that caused the imbalance to begin with in the very first place.

But due to too much going on in our lives and mind – we are either not in touch with our inner selves to hear this guidance or just ignore this guidance; the body which continues to experience the imbalance now tries to regain the lost balance in a different way, and so now we crave certain foods. Very beautifully, the body or rather the mind knows that certain foods will alter the brain chemicals in order to regulate energy or mood (though not permanent – but yes, for that little while one does feel better) And once that moment is passed – we eat that food again – because we want to continue feeling that way. It is a lot easier to eat our way out of a problem, than address the root of the problem itself. This takes us into the cycle of Compulsive Eating – Over Eating and Excess Weight!!!!

Let me explain – let’s say that you’re unhappy at work, with your boss. You feel he constantly pressurizes you to perform the job of 2 people without giving any consideration to your time or even increasing the pay. We do give in – as we need the work, but after a while, we begin to feel the resistance, the fatigue and the voice inside tells us – you need to make a life change. May be like discussing with your boss or speaking up for yourself or looking for a new job. But then crops up the fear about financial security or how would your family survive the transition, what if I dint find a new job?? – such doubts and many more like these – keep us from following this guidance. So now – the body that wants to feel better sends signals to eat certain foods that will help us temporarily feel better.

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The most direct route to reducing cravings is to heal the situation that’s triggering them. Even taking a baby step towards the resolution of a problem at work, in your love life, or in your lifestyle can reduce food cravings.

But instead, we end up equating food to making us fat!! We thus make associations with food – some devil, some angels.. some fattening.. some thinning.. So now, food either evokes a feeling of guilt, or a feeling of resentment, or a feeling of worry!!!

Don’t we get energy from our food?? Should it not bring forth a feeling of appreciation, a feeling of abundance, a feeling of longevity, and a feeling of energy – of being charged to move forward with our day; a feeling of well-being – of feeling good about what we eat, about our body and most importantly Ourselves!!!

Food is such an important component of our experience. Why call it names? Why give it unnecessary tags?? Why not befriend it.. Bless it..  And eat it with utmost pleasure and gratitude 🙂

Think about it 🙂

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2 thoughts on “i-Crave!! – Ever Wondered the Whys of Emotional Eating – Obsessive Compulsive Eating – Binge Eating – Un-explained Food cravings???

  1. An activity like going for a 5 minute walk, talking to a friend, doing some work routine at the time of icrave may help. Or if eating is a must you can suggest a healthy snack at that time

    • That is so true..
      Our emotions require adequate supplies of a brain chemical called “serotonin” – the feel good chemical. Without sufficient serotonin, one feels tired, depressed, irritable, or has disturbed cravings.
      Some of the very natural ways to increase the serotonin supply like you said include the following:
      – Engaging in aerobic activities – walking, swimming, cycling, playing a sport of choice – for at least 30 minutes, four or five times a week
      – Being outside in the sunlight
      – Avoiding or reducing alcohol and caffeine consumption, which inhibit serotonin production
      – Talking to a loved one
      – Eating a balanced diet, with plenty of whole grains and fresh produce
      – Sleeping soundly for at least seven or eight hours
      I also think – the best way to deal when the craving hits is to distract yourself – to Move out of the room where you are or take a walk or do something physical – to first snap out of the emotion. Get yourself a a glass of water sip on it.. Now wait for a bit and see how you feel.. Very often a physical activity or distraction does the trick.
      Because if you are disturbed no matter what you eat – you will still end up over eating and when we are disturbed or stressed the body produces cortisol, which does increase fat levels. This will contribute to gaining weight.

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