Struggling with emotional eating?
We’ve all been there…..it’s 9pm, you’ve gotten through your classes for the day, there are projects looming over your head and yet all you want to do is eat cookies and binge watch a show on Netflix. There are many factors contributing to the desire for cookies, ice cream, chips – you name it!
When we eat these tasty foods, hormones such as dopamine and serotoin are released that make us feel good and want more.
It is OK and completely normal to sometimes eat because you are happy, sad, bored, or just because it feels good. This is “normal eating” as defined by Ellyn Satter (1).
If you notice turning to comfort foods happens frequently, consider these 5 tips.
1) Eat regular meals and snacks (ie. every 3-4 hours), balanced in fiber and protein. This will regulate your energy and blood sugar through the day and reduce the intensity of those cravings.
2) Avoid the binge-restrict cycle. Giving yourself permission to enjoy ALL foods can help to create a healthier relationship with food and avoid repeating this unhelpful cycle.
3) Practice mindful eating.
4) Engage in self-care. Try even 5-10 minutes of an activity that brings your relaxation or joy – meditation, yoga, colouring, etc.
5) Check in with hunger and fullness cues. Use a scale like this one to guide you.
If your eating habits are causing you to feel uncomfortable on a regular basis and a source of distress, seek help from a health professional – consider visiting Student Wellness Services. If you are on a meal plan – speak with Queen’s Hospitality Services RD to explore how to feel most supported on the meal plan.
Theresa Couto, RD