My last blog ended on a note around factors other than hunger that impact; what, how much (or how little), and when we eat. Our emotions can significantly impact our food choices, so lets talk about ‘emotional eating’.
From my observations emotional eating is particularly relevant in women. I believe however that our male counterparts do engage in emotional eating, they just don’t think about, discuss, plan, and anticipate their food quite as vocally or emotionally as women do!! If a man wants to eat a pie, he just will. A woman on the other hand will;
- Justify her decision by skipping several meals in advance
- Possibly eat it where she can’t be seen
- More than likely be disappointed if that pie was not exactly what she had been envisaging for the last 12 hours.
Furthermore this decision could very likely tip her off the wagon of her latest ‘diet’, sending her spiralling into dietary disappointment!
Clearly I speak from experience!!
There are several scientific, evidence based explanations around why the LCHF way of eating can impact our energy levels, satiety and general feelings about food. I believe however that personal experience is the best way to rationalise the benefits of reducing processed carbohydrates and eating a diet based on whole and natural foods, and the positive impact this can have on our emotion fuelled food choices.
For most of my life my food choices have been based around the tips and troughs of my ever-circulating insulin levels. Being a foodie didn’t help, I was never content to grab a quick and easy snack, I planned my meals around my preferred, and what I believed to be healthy foods, such as sushi, wholemeal breads, plenty of fruit. By the end of the day however my ‘healthy’ choices had sent me spiralling into a hunger fuelled food frenzy and had me reaching for ridiculously ‘mindless’ foods; crackers, chips, sweets etc, and you know where this is going, you’ve most likely been there before………
Dinner was formulating in my head from the minute I woke, healthy of course, rice, potatoes, pasta, bread to fill the kids up. If a restaurant meal wasn’t quite what I had planned, watch out! Never one to take it out on restaurant staff, my long-suffering husband usually bore the brunt of my emotional out-bursts! To put it simply my emotions were in control of all things food related!
So what has changed? WelI now it’s my head, not my emotions, in control of my food choices. My high fat breakfast choice of eggs, Just Nuts, or bacon and/or avocado lets me to enjoy hours of consistent energy, allowing me to make instinctive food choices based on my hunger levels (or lack of) and nothing else. Better still, I know that my LCHF meal choices are nourishing my family and friends. The satisfaction of filling our plates with green vege, wholesome locally produced meat and seafood, covered in rich creamy sauces does make me emotional but good emotional!! Several times over the last 3 years my husband has admitted (begrudgingly) that I am a nicer person to be around since I changed to LCHF, more patient and accepting of unexpected situations and experiences. What he doesn’t realise is that so is he!!
So while there are a myriad of elements influencing our dietary habits; emotional, social, and convenience, lets not get too complicated. Keep it simple (but not too simple). Be mindful and listen to what your body is saying, take the emotion out of eating, replace it with mindfulness, eat to nourish and satisfy not to fill an emotional gap. Most of all enjoy your food, before, while and after you have eaten, then you know you have made the right food choice.