“We often eat because it is the easiest way we have available for manage both negative and positive emotionsand », explains Enrico Prosperi, psychologist, Lazio president of the country's Society for the study of eating disorders (SISDCA). "Is called "Emotional hunger" and it appears when we most need to be comforted in the face of feelings such as sadness, anger or fear ».
This attitude has distant roots. «Since childhood we are used to receiving food as a reward or as a punishment:“ If you don't be a brat, I'll buy you ice cream ”? Or: “Don't be sad, look what sweet I give you…” », continues the expert. "In modern times, then, there are emotions not tolerated by society, such as boredom or loneliness and in order not to hear them one is inclined to eat », says Dr. Prosperi. But we also turn to food to manage positive emotions: «It may happen that you are not used to feeling joy and take refuge in the pleasures of the table; or you eat to celebrate or to reward yourself for something ", concludes the psychologist.
Always wait half an hour
To learn to understand if you are hungry or not, it is essential to learn when your emotions are "unloaded" on the stomach. Help comes from time: if you feel hungry, you have to commit to doing something else for at least half an hour: if it is an emotional hunger it will disappear along with the sensations that have whetted your appetite.
Three steps to avoid bingeing
- 1. "To gain awareness, in the morning before breakfast, lie down on a mat and focus on the sensations you are experiencing that may make you feel hungry," suggests Dr. Prosperi. "For example, did you sleep badly?" Are you feeling down? Once you have recognized your real state of mind, accept it by letting it enter you. Carry it with you until the discomfort goes away by itself. "
- 2. "When you are out and about you are bombarded with visual or olfactory stimuli", explains the expert. «The oven under the house that gives off the scent of hot bread; the bar where you drink coffee full of delicacies ... If you are overwhelmed by the desire to take that dessert, stop and ask yourself: "Do I really need to eat this thing?". If the answer is no, count to ten concentrating on your breathing that comes and goes and then leave the bar calmly. "
- 3. While you are about to eat something, imagine that you are about to bite into something not particularly tasty, like a plate of plain salad: would you eat it anyway? "If not, watch carefully what you are about to bite into," advises the psychologist. “Sure, it looks inviting but it's like a red herring, it gives you nothing but momentary relief. Do you want it anyway? ».