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Soulfood: Food to make it a good thing

Frustration, stress, sadness, boredom or reward: There are many reasons why people reach out to eat in such situations. Do you also belong to the emotional Essers and find your satisfaction in the soulfood? After all three out of four people are so-called emotional eaters. Short term it's not bad either. It is only when it becomes a habit that it can limit its own quality of life, promote overweight and make it difficult to remove it. Find out what your psyche is doing with your stress and grief with your feeling of hunger and what you can do about it.


Hunger or hunger?

The stomach crackles. You're hungry. So really hungry, that it ziept in the belly and you feel uncomfortable. There is only one thing that helps: food until the feeling of satiety begins. But many people don't know a crackling of the stomach anymore, because they just eat without reason.

Whether out of boredom, stress or as a reward: the emotional hunger can be great. As children, we often learn that different problems can be solved with food. So we are rewarded with a chocolate biscuit for cleaning up or get a low-coloured Lolli as a consolation donor. In this way, our brain links the food with the sense of recognition and satisfaction. Consequently, in us, happiness hormones are spilled. The whim is rising, we feel good.

Since this pattern of behavior has been impressed by many, many years, it is enormously difficult to get used to this again. If we feel stressed, lonely or sad in adulthood, we are therefore often tempted to eat emotional food. It gives us a good feeling, for example, when we reach the chocolate bar-but only in the short term. We're never really tired of emotional food. The treachery: In order to feel the snack as a reward, it must be particularly sweet, so that the release of the body's own happiness hormones reaches the maximum. But that can quickly become a boomerang, so that our subconscious happiness is only linked to food.

Hormones in Action: Serotonin and Cortisol

One of the decisive messengers for our happiness is the serotonin, popularly known as "happiness hormone". If too little of this messenger substance, which gives information in our nervous system, is available, we get much easier and faster in Rage. The problem is that serotonin is at the same time a kind of barrier, which normally ensures that we do not eat too much. Thus, if there is a lack of serotonin in our body, we become more frequent and more easily angry. This kind of stress means that we want to eat something immediately. Since the serotonin barrier is missing, however, this attack cannot be slowed down. The result: You eat and eat, take up, become dissatisfied. Frustration arises, so that from a loud despair you can be comforted with a piece of chocolate. Welcome to the Teufelskreis. It is a good thing that you can counteract a little: for example, dates are particularly rich in the so-called tryptophan. From this substance, serotonin is formed in the brain. A handful daily is already sufficient for prevention.

However, not only serotonin can push the emotional hunger, but also the stress hormone cortisol. It ensures, among other things, that our brain areas, which are responsible for our conscious action, are simply blocked. Instead, our stem brain is activated, which controls the vital functions and instincts. 

In this way, the perception of our internal signals, such as hunger and satiety, can also be reduced. In return, we let our survival instincts take control, to bunkering as much as possible, rather than consciously just eating the amount we actually need. For example, often strenuous learning phases or stressful hours in the office end up with chocolate, energy drinks or biscuits being our loyal companions. We don't eat because we're hungry, but because our body signals to us that we can handle the situation better. 

In the short term, this behavior seems to be making the situation more bearable for us. In the long term, however, the soul-food is a compensation strategy, which keeps us from tackling the real problem. So what can you do when suddenly the emotional hunger-without stomach crackling-grabs you and you just open the fridge again without a reason or grab your hand for the kekspackung?

SOS emergency plan: How can you stop the emotional food?

  1. Identify the trigger: as soon as the impulse "I have to eat something" comes up in you and you reach the candy bar or the cookies, take a short time and reflect on your situation. Do you want to eat something because you are physically hungry or do you just want to compensate for your emotions?
  2. Think about a solution strategy: if you can name the trigger (e.g. Stress in the job), think about how to solve the core of the problem.
  3. Implement your strategies: question e.g. Colleagues, whether they support you, speak openly with your boss, that you are currently working on too many projects at the same time, making phone calls with a friend or a friend, and trying to get your head free. For example, yoga, jogging through the park, or something that is fun for you.

These three tips can be used super when the nasal attack is over. But in the long term, you should change something in your life so that emotional food isn't going to become a habit. Keep in mind: food doesn't solve your problems, you just expel them!

Emotional hunger as a gift

Let's see it positive: Emotional hunger can also be a gift. Why? Because he shows you that something isn't right. If you consciously perceive it and investigate the cause, you will feel that your body is trying to get in touch with you in this way. A kind of cry for help that you need to change something urgently. Be it that you have too much stress, feel miserable after a dispute, or you're unhappy with your life situation. You will never be able to depart from the emotional hunger completely, but it is important to be able to correctly classify it and to consider appropriate strategies for action.

Our conclusion:

If you want to stop the emotional food, it is important to recognize the cause. Take time to reflect on your behavior, find the trigger, and develop appropriate strategies for you to solve the problem. In this way, you'll win back your natural eating behavior, which means that you only eat when your body is hungry, your stomach starts crackling and not when your head is demanding after the next snack.

Your Sanhelios team