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WebMD archives content after 2 years to ensure our readers can easily find the most timely content. The boss snaps at you, and you feel like biting their head off. Or your kids are on an overnight, you've got no one to talk to, and you feel sort of hollow inside -- doesn't a cupcake or bowl of ice cream sound delish?
It's yesterday's news that people don't eat just when they are physically hungry. People eat for all sorts of reasons besides physical hunger ; stress, boredom, and depression are just a few. What is new is Spangle's theory -- observed over 16 years as a weight-loss coach -- that people's food choices tend to correlate to the type of emotions they're experiencing. If you look at the foods you crave, Spangle maintains, you can tell what you're feeling. One form of emotional eating stems from what Spangle calls "head hunger": an urge to eat stemming from intellectual sources such as stress, anger, frustration, an upcoming deadline, or being misunderstood.
If the food you crave is chewy or crunchy, "something you smash your teeth down on," Spangle says, you're experiencing head hunger. After they have identified what they would actually like to crush between their teeth , Spangle asks them, "Will that chip really change the situation -- will it do the trick? No stranger herself to emotional eating, Spangle recalls working alone all day when her husband was out of town, then starting to make a big salad for dinner.
I have been alone all day. Maybe that little pasta place The minute Spangle thought "pasta," she stopped herself: "Instead, I asked myself, 'Why am I feeling sad and empty? Spangle defines this kind of " heart hunger" as a response to the "empty" emotions, such as loneliness, depression , boredom, and that feeling that something is missing. If you seek comforting foods such as ice cream, pasta, cinnamon rolls, cheese, eggs, meatloaf, mashed potatoes, biscuits, cake especially cheesecake , alcohol, candy, and other foods that have a fond spot in your memory say, Mom's favorite recipe , you're likely experiencing "heart hunger.
Here's another clue. That phrase "I don't know what I want" is the tip-off. That's when you should ask yourself: "What am I missing? In the case of her lonely evening, instead of going out for pasta, Spangle finished making the salad, put it in a special bowl, and went to the prettiest spot in her house to nibble on it. She also put on some favorite music and delved into a course she had been working on.
Later, she made some lunch dates and vowed to go to some networking events. The evening passed swiftly, along with her hunger. I have not seen a connection between selection and the type of emotional eating. Neither Spangle nor Jakubczak recommends that people try to simply ignore their cravings when they recognize they're eating out of emotional hunger. Instead, they suggest substituting some non-food activities to fill the void.
Here are some ideas:. Or, Jakubczak says, try substituting a healthier food for whatever it is you're craving -- yogurt for ice cream, for example. By the way, she says, substituting carrot sticks for potato chips does not work! You might try baked chips instead. The conventional wisdom used to be that if you craved something, your body needed a nutrient found in that particular food. With the possible exception of chocolate , which contains the feel-good brain chemical called serotonin, Spangle disdains this explanation. If eating carbs makes you crave more carbs, Spangle says, this may be partly due to your physiological makeup.
But to stop eating the extra carbs, you need to examine the reason for the emotional eating. So take a look at the food you're holding in your hand, and ask: "Who do I want to chew out? The answer could help you stop eating when you're not hungry -- and put you on the road to dealing with your feelings in a more productive way. Feed Your Head? Get a Handle on Emotional Eating Not everyone believes emotional eating can be so easily categorized.
Continued "I have my clients keep a food journal and rate their hunger from one to 10 every time they eat something," she says. Here are some ideas: Get moving: run upstairs, go down the hall and talk to a co-worker. Put on some music. Get outside and take a walk around the block. Read a non-work-related, entertaining magazine for 20 minutes. Take seven slow deep breaths. Play with the dog. Could I have CAD? Missing Teeth?CRAVING A SOFT TOUCH
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