The act of eating, although it may seem to be only a physical act, also involves psychological variables. For this reason, in recent times, there is a certain awareness of how the emotional state affects our eating and how it affects our emotional state.
In fact, as explained in the article “Night Eating Syndrome: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment of this Eating Disorder,” anxiety or depression can lead a person to experience a strong desire to eat. However, eating anxiety can have different causes: psychological, endocrine, contextual, etc.
In this article we will talk about anxiety about eating and what we can do to reduce it .
Eliminating Eating Anxiety
Reducing anxiety about eating is possible by carrying out different strategies that include both mental and nutritional aspects, lifestyle, etc. But what are these strategies? In the following lines we explain them to you.
1. 5 meals a day
Nutritional factors play a very important role in developing food anxiety. In this sense, the times we eat and the number of times we eat a day have an impact on our level of hunger. If we have a more or less fixed schedule, we give the body a message about when we are going to eat.
On the other hand, eating 5 meals a day is key for the body to be well nourished and there is less chance of snacking between meals . If we feel full, the anxiety to eat is reduced.
2. Get rid of those foods you don’t want to eat
Many times anxiety about eating can arise because we’ve seen that candy bar in the fridge or those cookies in the kitchen cabinet. There are foods that are irresistible temptations, especially those rich in fat and sugar . In fact, food stimulates the same brain regions as drugs, because some behaviours need to be reinforced.
A biological strategy serves to repeat pleasant behaviors and to favor the survival of the species. The area of reinforcement, which is the brain region involved in this process, is in the Ventral Tegmental Area.
3. Eat complex carbohydrates
Our food can make us more or less hungry during the day. An example of this is when we eat industrial baked goods and foods that cause hyperglycemia. We may feel full at the moment, but soon after we feel a great anxiety to eat. The best alternative is to eat foods with complex carbohydrates , for example, brown rice, which keep our blood sugar at bay and keep us fuller for longer.
Food anxiety can also appear when we do not have healthy habits that allow us to be disciplined. That’s why exercising and eating healthy foods keeps us in check and helps our overall well-being. Positive self-esteem, which increases if we don’t obsess about sports training, also affects our mood. This also has an impact on not feeling anxious about food .
5. Practice Mindfulness eating
Mindfulness is an ancient practice that has its origin in Buddhist wisdom, and that allows a person to live in the present moment, in connection with himself and that helps to adopt a mentality of self-pity.
Mindfulness can also be related to eating , which is known as conscious eating. This practice allows a change towards a healthy life, towards meeting our own body and what we eat, which provides a greater enjoyment of food, greater health and reduces anxiety about eating.
6. Be aware of what you eat and be informed
But not only can you become aware of what you eat with Mindfulness eating, but you can also learn about food and nutrition, something that will give you knowledge and help you choose those foods that will make you feel better. Eating foods that are low in sugar, high in fiber or high in protein are options that will allow us to reduce our anxiety about eating. I’m sure your body will appreciate it, and your mind too.
7. Go to the psychologist
Many of the habits we have can affect our well-being, and at mealtimes the same can happen. In addition, some people may suffer from emotional problems or disorders that cause anxiety about eating. We discussed Night Eater Syndrome earlier in this article, but there are other disorders, such as Binge Eating Disorder, that are also related to anxiety.
On the other hand, depression can lead a person to eat large amounts of food . Therefore, there may be a psychological problem behind the anxiety to eat that must be treated by a specialist, and psychologists can do an excellent job in this regard.
Psychology of eating
A current that is becoming more and more accepted and in which the work of the psychologist is extremely important is the Psychology of Eating. The fact is that our mind and our body are closely related , and that is why anxiety about food can be understood from this discipline.
The psychology of food covers such interesting topics as: What foods affect our mood? Or: How is the management of emotions a determining factor in following a dietary plan?
- If you want to know more about this area, you can read the article: “Psychology of food: definition and applications”