Have you ever gulped down a whole tub of ice-cream before an exam or ravaged a chocolate cake in the throes of a heartbreak
Stress eating is a coping mechanism to manage difficult emotions. Food gives us comfort and solace when we are going through a difficult time. We all have resorted to emotional eating from time to time. However, It becomes dysfunctional when it is accompanied by feelings of guilt, shame, and self-critical thoughts. The self- reinforcing cycle of binge eating goes like this:
Feeling distressed-> Crave food-> Binge eat-> Critical thoughts-> Guilt & Self-loathing
Our relationship with food changes when we engage in emotional eating. Now it is no longer fuel for energy or basic need fulfillment for hunger but it is our mood booster when we are low and the center of our celebrations.
Tips to Deal with Binge Eating
– Mindful Eating- We have all heard of eating small portions throughout the day to refrain from overeating a big chunk in a small gap of time. We have a tendency to resort to mindless eating when we are watching. Mindfulness will lead to conscious eating.
– Food Diary- A food diary helps to keep a track of the times when one is most likely to binge- It includes the thoughts, physical sensations, the emotions and reactions to them
– Drinking 6-8 glasses of water- Intake of fluids will give a sensation of being full thereby reducing bingeing.
Netflix and Amazon Prime have started reigning supreme on our nighttime agendas now (sometimes daytime too). How many of us are guilty of binge-watching Friends or MindHunter the whole night despite knowing that the next day will take the brunt of this nightly ritual?
It’s either no episode all the whole season in one go. There is no in-between.
What makes us go to such extremes when it comes to TV Series?
1. Boredom- Netflix and Amazon Prime offer us a new world to escape from our dreary stressful lives.
2. Tuning out emotional turmoil- An even more gripping reason is that the external noise drowns out the internal chatter of loneliness, anxiety, and self-doubt that can’t be ignored when we are alone and the mind is unoccupied.
3. According to clinical psychologist Dr. Renee Carr, “when binge-watching our favorite show, our brain is continually producing dopamine i.e happy hormones, and our body experiences a drug-like high. What keeps us hooked is just like any high there comes a low and we search for our next fix.
So what is the solution to this malady?
Moderation is key- Set time limits or a set number of episodes and keep a buffer in between episodes by going out with friends or exercising. It sends the same dopamine signals to our brain and is a healthier coping mechanism for dealing with stress.
Watching the clock tick by has become another dreaded nighttime ritual, courtesy our fast-paced, stress-filled lives and mindless scrolling and swiping. An increasing no. of millennials are dealing with sleep deprivation that undoubtedly leads to a drop in productivity.
We might have difficulty getting off to sleep, wake up frequently during the night, or wake early in the morning and not be able to get back to sleep. These all result in our feeling that we haven’t slept enough – we feel tired, tense and are likely to worry about not sleeping. This worry can then make it even harder for us to sleep well.
Some common remedies are:
Get some regular exercise during the day. Try swimming, sports or walking. Avoid exercise late in the evening.
Cut down on caffeine (tea, coffee, some soft drinks) in the evening. Try a milky drink instead.
If you’ve had a bad night, resist the temptation to sleep the next day – it will make it harder to get off to sleep the following night.
If you can’t sleep, don’t lie there worrying about it. Get up and do something you find relaxing like reading or listening to quiet music. After a while, you should feel tired enough to go to bed again.
In a nutshell, as the routes of escaping ourselves are ever-increasing, may we choose the practice of honoring our emotions, allowing them to inform us of what needs to change, choosing authentic lives that we no longer need to escape.