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Ladies, what is emotional eating?

Nipa Asharam

Nipa Asharam
29 May 2020

This article is authored by Nipa Asharam. Nipa is a full-time practising life coach and wellness coach under the brand 'Eat.Breathe.Smile'.

How did emotions and food get so deeply connected? How did we create an automatic message system in our body that has been passed from one generation to another? This isn’t new and it has been discussed before. The problem is getting bigger and the consequences of it can be long lasting, so we need to see the foundation that laid this habit in the first place.

Clearly the emotions are strong enough that transpires an immediate action towards food. Here are the emotions and where they came from:

Emotion 1: I did well so I deserve a treat!
Good Skin Besan Take a trip down memory lane to the times when you did well in exams or won a race in your annual sports meet. The reward was an ice-cream or chocolate or maybe some spicy chips! It is different when this was seen as one of the rewards, but this became a regular pattern. We didn’t stop this as we grew up. We now see weekends as a time for indulgence, stemming from the same emotion but we do not co-relate it. What if the reward was a healthy but yummy meal or a day out filled with activities – wouldn’t we see that as a reward today for celebrating milestones? I do have a healthy chocolate post a week’s great workout but it is in moderation and it is yet healthy.

Emotion 2: I went through a tough time, I need to feel better – where is my favourite ice-cream?

I will take you down memory lane once again to show you that this came from our childhood as well. We cried and we were offered food. We went through some of our first bad experiences and the soothing mechanism was again food. We do this now as well. If we are having a bad time at work or going through a tough patch in relationships, food becomes the answer instead of feeling the negative emotions and asking the right questions.

Emotion 3: I hate my body, so how does it matter what I put in?

Body image issues are also deeply rooted in how we were told to not eat food because we were plump. I do not think that the message was incorrect as regards to our elders wanting us to eat healthy but it was done through a body shaming set of words. Some can be really harsh and be a part of our sub-conscious. We hate our body and don’t think it deserves the right food till we don’t love it. We do not think of any repercussions until then at all. It is our way of telling our body – ‘look I hate you anyway, so it doesn’t matter what I put in you’.

Emotion 4: I will binge today because I need it and will take care of it tomorrow

Negative self-talk that we do to convince ourselves that this is what we need today, no matter what and we shall compensate for it tomorrow, is another emotional eating habit. It starts with once a month and then becomes bi-weekly or even weekly. We become a couch potato and find it too hard to even understand mindful eating. Negative self-talk is quite sabotaging at various levels because we either we are victimizing or blaming ourselves for situations around us constantly! This leads to a general mode that nothing is right with me and therefore what is the point of any self-care.

Emotion 5: I am not in a ‘good enough’ state of mind

Self-care and self-love come more naturally when we think we are worthy of it. In today’s competitive world, we consume information in a way that makes us feel we lack a lot of things. This leads us to not have any self-care routine or habits that can keep us grounded and connected to our source. Automatically, it creates a spiral of sadness, anxiety and ‘I am not good enough’ feeling. In order to deal with this, we go all out with food. Loving who you are is very important to deeply take care of yourself and what you put into your system – food and thoughts.

The consequences of emotional eating are weight gain, lack of purpose and even chronic health issues such as cholesterol, diabetes, hypothyroid and long-term damage to our cells.

Instead of trying to control this with rules, willpower and discipline and feel negative emotions, find a route to work on it that is sustainable. This will solve emotional eating naturally.



DISCLAIMER

The views and opinions expressed, and assumptions & analysis presented in this content piece are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other agency, organization, employer or company. The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this website are for informational purposes only. The purpose of this website is to promote broad consumer understanding and knowledge of various health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

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Diet, exercise and sunlight: Three factors women shouldn’t ignore for good bone health

Dr. Dharini Krishnan

Dr. Dharini Krishnan
11 January 2021

This article is authored by Dr. Dharini Krishnan, an award-winning Consultant Dietitian, she believes that for a healthy body and mind, we must combine modern medicine with native Indian practices which are proven to benefit us.

Barring a significant injury or fracture, we rarely tend to think about bone health. Yet, for women, particularly those who are middle-aged or older, this is a vital concern because of the risk of osteoporosis.

In 2013, it was estimated that there were 50 million Indians who were osteoporotic or having low bone mass. Some studies have found that the prevalence of osteoporosis could be as high as 42.5% in women over the age of 50.

Osteoporosis and health complications

Eat Breakfast

Osteoporosis comes from the Latin for “porous bone”, and is a condition where bone tissue loses its density, and becomes weaker and more fragile. Such bones are easily susceptible to breaks, resulting in pain, disability and loss of functionality in everyday life.

Bones, which form the primary supporting framework of the body, grow from birth till our early twenties, which is the period of peak bone mass. Bone is an active tissue that undergoes regular replacement in conditions of health.

In osteoporosis, however, bone formation is outpaced by bone loss, leading to porosity or thinness of bone tissue and brittle bones. Such bones could easily be fractured even in the absence of significant trauma. Such fractures tend to reduce mobility and lead to increased hospitalization and dependence on others.

Why osteoporosis affects women more

Women are particular at risk for osteoporosis because they have lesser bone mass to start with. The geometry and structure of bone have also been increasingly recognized as important risk factors for fracture.

The risk of osteoporosis significantly rises during menopause because of the hormonal changes women undergo at the time. This is because estrogen plays a significant role in maintaining bone health, and the secretion of this hormone falls drastically during menopause.

The importance of protein and calcium in the diet

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For some time now, awareness of the importance of calcium for bone health has been growing. Hence, women are advised to consume sufficient amounts of dairy, green leafy vegetables, soya products and nuts.

What many don’t realise is that sufficient levels of protein are just as important for strong bones. After all, protein makes up roughly 50% of bone volume and about one-third of its mass. Daily intake of protein is also necessary to provide the raw materials for bone formation. Unfortunately, research shows that the levels of dietary protein consumed by Indians are actually reducing.

For non-vegetarians chicken, fish and eggs are good sources of protein. For vegetarians, pulses are one of the primary sources of protein, along with dairy products. Daily intake of protein in at least two major meals of the day, particularly in healthy forms such as sambhar or dal is, therefore, vital.

The role of exercise and sunlight

Eat Breakfast

Bone health also requires good muscle health. This makes it necessary to undertake moderate exercise as often as possible. A 45-minute walk six days a week as well as resistance training using the body weight, such as surya namaskaras, can go a long way to building muscles. Importantly, the body also requires Vitamin D to mobilize calcium for bone health. Hence, exposure to peak sunlight between 11am and 3 pm at least twice a week is also vital for bone health.

Osteoporosis can be a serious health problem that disrupts life and limits mobility, particularly for women. However, a healthy diet, rich in calcium and protein, together with exercise, can go a long way in maintaining bone health.



DISCLAIMER

The views and opinions expressed, and assumptions & analysis presented in this content piece are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other agency, organization, employer or company. The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this website are for informational purposes only. The purpose of this website is to promote broad consumer understanding and knowledge of various health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

 

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