Healthy Eating Behaviours
What is the role of emotions in eating behaviours?
Identifying the causes, intrinsic or environmental, will open the path to finding long term and long sought solutions to reconcile food, hunger and healthy habits. Understanding the physiological and psychological variables influencing our eating behaviour is key to any successful attempt at weight loss and stabilisation. The brain reward system dictates often inadequate or unhealthy food choices, leading to weight gain that is unrelated to a lack of willpower. It is a far more complex situation stimulating hormones and triggering the same areas of the brain, like addictive drugs such as cocaine or heroin. Symptoms like intense craving, binge eating, stress-eating, overeating or compulsive eating are the most common indicators of food addiction.
Emotional stress triggers the desire for sugar, salty or fatty foods to fill emotional needs such as reward, relief or comfort. Food becomes the support to deal with uncomfortable and stressful situations. The different forms of stress that we experience on a daily basis, emotional, mental, physical and behavioural, need to be identified and addressed to gain back control over our eating habits. Listening to our body, acquiring the tools to establish intuitive eating, and recognizing hunger and satiety signals will help reconcile oneself with food and intake.