09/06/2016

Davide Alfonsi Takeover P5 - Emotional Eating!

We have all been there. We had a crappy day, feel tired and demotivated or sad and lonely. One second we were trying our best to stay compliant to the diet and the second after something dark and evil took over, the emotional monster takes control and we turn in a beast able to devour everything we have around us. Cookies, bread, cheese, chocolate, ice cream and even the breakfast cereals. We cannot stop the monster until we feel bloated and barely able to walk to the bed. Straight after a horrible sense of guilt and disgust permeates our mind and we feel very very sorry for ourselves. That's called binge eating or Emotional Appetite.

Appetite & The Brain

There are two types of appetite: hunger and emotional appetite.
Hunger is physiological and is triggered by hormones such as leptin. Is a signal our body sends to the brain to ask for “fuel”.
Emotional appetite has nothing to do with a real need for energy. It's simply our own way to suppress certain emotions we dislike and keep ourselves entertained with something we love: good tasting food.

The part of the brain responsible for emotional appetite is called Lymbic System or Monkey brain.
The Monkey brain helps you see the world as a set of problems and games to play with and explore while you ride the emotional highs and lows that they make you feel. The Monkey brain loves to experience peak emotional states like anger, happiness, sadness, frustration, boredom, excitement and so on. A monkey has to keep himself entertained in the end.
The Monkey has the concept of time but it also believes that the only resources he can access are the ones he has been taught previously. It is not wired to discover and create, it rather keeps you entertained with activities that you can repeat while in auto pilot. And definitely is not designed to keep you accountable to your long term goals.
Emotional Triggers
There are three main emotions that trigger the monkey brain and lead to self-destructive or addictive behaviors like emotional eating.
1)    Boredom: endless queues, boring meetings, a not so funny date and so on. When we don't feel particularly engaged is easy to fall into the food trap to make the time pass quickly. How many of you had demolished a big bag of almonds (that's supposed to be your healthy snack right?) while waiting for something? Not to talk about the cookie jar during your last work meeting. It's probably empty by now.
2)    Tiredness: we do need to keep fuelling our body to sustain our daily activities. That's a given. Even so I often see people skipping meals and ending up eating crap simply because they felt tired and obviously their body was asking for food. When you stay too long without food your blood sugar will drop and guess what you will crave? Sweets and carbs.
3)    Stress: whenever we want a desired outcome to turn into reality but we have no control over it we feel stressed. The lack of control makes us doubt and we release stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. To stop that feeling is easy to reach for any food since the act itself of chewing gives us something else to focus on. The same goes for cigarettes.
4)    Sadness: in this case something unpleasant just happened or we simply dug up a painful memory. Once again the emotional state we dislike can lead to abusing comfort foods to keep ourselves entertained.
Solutions
1)    Eating out of boredom can be avoided by always having chewing gums with you, drinking water or just having an anti-stress ball in your hands. Best of all would be trying to focus and engage in whatever you are doing while making reality a little game to entertain your brain. I personally like to count the number of objects I see around me in groups of four. Any mental game would work as long as you like to play it rather than snacking.
2)    Tiredness is easy to fix. Make sure you eat regularly and avoid high GI foods like sugars, juices, milk. Eat lean proteins, fats and complex carbs and you should feel nicely fed throughout the day. Also taking a power nap if you find an empty room can recharge you.
3)    Stress is a bad beast. If this is something you experience a lot you should probably look into mindfulness and try meditation. Working out is also a great way to distress since releases endorphins and also keeps you focused on the task. If stress is particularly work related you should try to find mini solutions that make your day better without awakening the binging monster.
4)    Sadness is a state of mind, the best thing to do here to interrupt the mental pattern is actually to do something absolutely unfamiliar. Some people jump ten times, other go walk the dog. I personally like diet coke… I know it's not the healthiest choice but makes me happy and I feel guilt free.
For further information about how to manage your mental state I suggest you to look into NLP or watch the one and only Tony Robbins on YouTube.
As always don't forget to follow me on Instagram @kiforce Snapchat: Ki-force and Facebook: Davide Alfonsi 
Remember when the Blonde was almost defeated? Didn't last long did it!


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