How to Lose Tummy Fat by Stopping Emotional Eating
Emotional eating. Does it sound a bit bizarre? That your goal to lose tummy fat can be linked to your emotions? If you only eat because you are hungry. Stop when you’re full. Only eat regularly three times a day. Don’t munch away on snack foods. Then yes, it is bizarre. However, for the rest of us, emotions can play an enormous role in what we eat, when we eat and how we eat.
Of course, it is not only what we eat that can be very troublesome if our emotions are involved. Our drinking habits are also linked to emotions. It could be our poison is wine, beer or harder stuff, or sugary drinks, hot chocolate or milkshakes. Of course, the first three are a bit more obvious, but surely the latter is harmless to our health and well-being? Certainly they do not affect our liver and brain in the same way as alcohol. But, they do contribute greatly to the storage of fat, especially around the middle of our bodies. So we need to think about why we are eating and drinking. This is so we can learn how to lose tummy fat, which is dangerous to our health.
Is this type of eating new?
No doubt eating for emotional reasons has been around for centuries, but it is far more prevalent now than ever before, especially in the so-called first world countries. We hear of very famous people who are afflicted by eating disorders, but they never seem to live in countries with very little food. It is difficult to imagine a land where people grow their own food and live according to traditional farming practices, being filled with those who have a late-night munching habit involving fried chicken, fries and milkshakes.
Firstly they would have to kill one of their precious chickens. Then pluck it, clean it, cut it up, then fry it in the valuable oil which they walked 5 miles to buy that morning. It’s the same with the fries. If the potatoes need to be dug up, cleaned, peeled, hand-cut, then fried, well it’s a great deal of work, isn’t it? And to get the milkshake; milk the cow, make the syrup by hand,(ice cream probably isn’t possible)… You get the picture. Our fast, supermarketed, readily-available, take-away food has made emotional eating a new phenomenon and one that is contributing to the ill-health of our nations.
What is emotional eating?
Being mindful or aware of what we are eating and why are the key to understanding emotional eating. Eating for any reason other than hunger involves our emotions. What about when we are invited to a meal and they give us a mountain of food, we have to eat it! You may feel that you will offend your host, you may feel that it is a shame to leave food on your plate. You may feel that love has been involved in the cooking and therefore every scrap must be consumed. If we think about why we are continuing to eat, we will discover that some emotion is present.
Boredom and frustration often contribute to eating, as well as loneliness, heartbreak, fear, sadness, and greed. These are the kinds of emotions that make us want to eat food other than our standard three balanced, healthy meals. Unfortunately, the type of food consumed during episodes of emotional eating tends to cause an accumulation of fat around the waist. How can we regain control of our eating and learn how to lose tummy fat? Our physical and mental health depends on it.
For those of us who eat for emotional reasons, it is quite likely we already know about this link. We have been locked in the battle with our minds and bodies for years. It often starts when we are children. We may feel unloved, lonely, neglected or afraid, so we eat to dull the pain. We eat sugary things or fatty food or preferably both. We find that the rush of dopamine we receive from these types of foods, makes us feel happier, or somehow fills the emotional hole. These habits can last a lifetime.
We may have no idea why we are reaching for the fatty sugary foods. However, this is our go-to solution for any type of emotional pain. It is often portrayed in comedies, movies and TV shows, where (usually the woman, although many men are emotional eaters too) someone is sad, lonely or heartbroken. They fetch the tub of ice cream and consume the whole lot! Although we find it amusing, it is the battleground of weight gain and yo-yo dieting. The type of food we eat for emotional soothing usually goes straight to our tummies. We want to gain control of the food we eat to learn how to lose tummy fat.
How to gain control over emotional eating?
The key is to stop and think. We need to use the rational part of our brain and prevent the emotional part from ruling how we act. The best way to do this is to get away from food sources. Even for a few minutes, in order to examine exactly what we are feeling at that time. If it helps, then write it down. Many people find that keeping a food and feelings diary helps us to become more mindful of what’s going into our mouths and why.
For example, you’re home from a long, hard day and you head straight for the wine bottle and grab a bag of chips or peanuts or corn chips. You fling off your shoes and drop onto the lounge with a great sigh and point the remote at the TV. Before long it’s two or three wines and the bag of chips is finished, plus the peanuts, and then you’ve moved onto the sweets! Or it might be a soda and a packet of biscuits.
Why do we do this? Frustration, boredom, and loneliness? The point is to stop and think. Identify emotions. Then try a different tack. Instead of heading for the kitchen, go to your room, change your shoes and go for a walk. Or put some music on and tend to some chores, do something you love, anything except the usual eating habits. Any of these tacks will help you change your eating habits and help you to lose tummy fat.