You constantly crave comfort foods
‘Comfort foods’, such as burgers, fries, pizza, lollies, chocolate or ice-cream sometimes help soothe your mood along with give you energy to carry out your day. The soothing affect comes about by your body releasing endorphins, which are so-called ‘feel good’ brain chemicals that can help you to feel happy.
The problem with this is that happy feeling can be quite addictive. If you are feeling overwhelmed and eat some cake, then you feel better (for any reason), it can be hard not to associate one with the other. That can cause you to crave cake or sugary foods next time you’re feeling overwhelmed. Many people don’t see the correlation between feelings and what they’re eating, but falling into patterns like this can lead to unwanted weight gain, often without you even realising it.
It's important to also note that eating comfort foods may make you feel better temporarily, but in a few hours, you may experience a blood sugar crash. That can lead to grumpiness and irritability, which may cause you to reach for comfort foods again. It can easily become a pattern that is quite difficult to break.
My biggest tip for combating emotional eating is to take note of your eating patterns. Next time you feel stressed, upset or angry, take note of what you eat. Once you have recognised emotional eating behaviour, you can take steps to channel that emotion into more positive activities. You might like to go for a walk, read a book or call a friend instead, these are all distractions and a brilliant way to get your mind focused on something else until the craving subsides.
There are lots of ways that food can affect your mood. While these tips can be really helpful, it’s important to remember that everybody is different, so our bodies can react differently to certain foods. I’m sure we can all agree that we generally feel better when we eat well, so treat your body kindly! Don’t ever deprive yourself, but also be aware that some foods can have some not-so-pleasant side effects. If you have been struggling with any of the moods above, checking your diet could be a good place to start!