How we feel affects our appetites – for some more than others.
One of the ways people say that they can tell if there in love is that they go off their food.
For other people, being in a relationship (hopefully a happy one) will make them eat more.
An experiment was done recently where a group of people were sent on a mock driving test. No matter how good a driver you are, being tested is never nice and the tester in this case was trying to make them feel anxious. They were asked to do difficult manoeuvres and notes were taken without any comments. When they came back they were introduced to another group who had had a relaxing couple of hours. They had been chatting and listening to music – in general, they were just calm. They were then invited to an all you can eat buffet. When the amount eaten by each group was analysed it was found that the ‘stressed’ group ate many more calories than the ‘relaxed group’ – over 30% more. Although both groups had access to the same foods and had eaten the same thing earlier in the day, their experiences made them eat differently.
On the other hand some people lose a lot of weight, because their appetite dries up if they are stressed or upset. A phenomenon known as the ‘break up diet’ or ‘divorce diet’ is well documented. When we go through the trauma of a break up it can upset us so much that we go into a kind of grieving process and stop eating. This isn’t a deliberate act, the person concerned just has no hunger and food tastes unpleasant if they try to eat.
So all this can seem contradictory – when we are in love we can lose our appetite or eat more – the same goes for when we are stressed.
The truth seems to be much more about how we feel about ourselves during these processes and about how we want to feel. Food is often used to change the way we feel, but if we feel like we need to be in that emotional state, we tend to eat less.
The truth about all emotional eating is that when we eat we tend to go for comfort foods – foods that are high in fat/sugar/salt or all three. This is because these tend to set off the reward centres in our brains that make us feel better.
If you are trying to lose weight and think you are an emotional eater – before you eat something ask yourself – am I hungry. If the answer is yes, then ask yourself, am I hungry enough to eat an apple? If the answer to that is no, then your not actually hungry at all! Try doing something else to get your pleasure centres working – go for a walk, have a bath or play a game. When you’re hungry enough to eat something good for you, then eat that and be proud of yourself!
If you struggle with this or any other bad eating habit it may be worth seeking some help from a Hypnotherapist – they can help you to change your eating habit easily and permanently.