The most common triggers for emotional eating are boredom, failure, loss, frustration and envy. The secret to breaking a food addiction or habit is to for us to determine the reason behind it. When we find out why and when we eat something, we have a better chance of changing our habit to center around nutrition and whole body health.
When we eat, Seratonin and Dopamine (hormones) begin to send out those comforting, happy signals to our brains. This euphoric feeling is behind the ‘food craving’ we experience. From that moment on, we begin to seek out this emotional feeling through our food and thus, our emotional eating problem begins.
Emotional eating creates the same ‘high’ the brain gets from cocaine and heroin use. The drive of addiction is the same, no matter the substance.The hormones of our body react like Pavlov’s dogs when they heard the bell ring. When we see a food that makes us ‘feel’ good, our body responds. We start to get a craving for that food, we are distracted with the obsession of taking that delicious bite, and our brain won’t stop screaming until we get it.
The ‘biological clock’ of our bodies is not simply for making babies, either. This body clock prepares us for lunchtime. If we eat lunch every day at 12:15 pm, our body releases insulin at 12 pm in preparation or anticipation of the incoming food. Our bodies are so smart that they can recognize patters we develop and begin to function accordingly. It is saving our life.
The insulin released helps stabilize our blood sugar and prevent us from going into a coma. The body is getting a jump-start on our eating activity, so to speak. The body thinks its helping, but its backfiring. This 12 pm ‘body buzzzer’ is also the thing that makes us hungry. As does the Krispy Kreme Doughnut Shop that you pass by on the way to work, making you salivate enough that you’re ready to pull over and get your doughnut fix on.
Ever have a craving for your favorite latte? Do you feel like you can’t function until you have warm cup of love in your hands as you sip down the magical juice? You know where the local Starbucks is on the way to work and so does your body. You start to think about that creamy foam and that first, sweet, warm sip of yumminess that IS your morning ritual. Have you ever skipped your morning ritual? Does your schedule ever get out of whack and cause you to miss the ritual? I bet you feel as grumpy as I do because you begin to feel like you missed the best part of your morning?
Moving past the caffeine addiction, this is about our rituals and comforting addictions. I can’t imagine my morning without that latte. I also can’t imagine going through my day without exercise. The adrenaline high I get, not to mention that ego boost when I see fruits of all my labor, is my addiction.
If we can become addicted to something, why not begin to make our rituals and addictions to center around things that serve our bodies and minds well? Why not begin an addiction or habit to eating healthy foods? Why not begin an addiction or habit to more exercise and the feeling it gives us? If our body chemistry and our addictions can be this powerful, we need to create rituals (addictions) that serve us, and not tear us down.