Share this using:
Did you know our emotions and state of mind play a powerful role on our overall health and weight? Learning what emotional eating patterns you might have and avoiding the trap of yo-yo dieting can benefit your mental and physical health.
Creating healthy habits can begin with gaining more awareness around how your thoughts impact your daily choices. Nicole Romano, Behavioral Therapist and Founder of Behavioral Nutrition and Optimal Life Science, dishes out behavioral nutrition facts and simple tips to improving your health for our 85th Healthier Habits campaign.
Gut flora (aka gastrointestinal flora) are the various microbes in our bodies and are key players in our mood. Research has shown that gut flora impacts mental health including symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress.1
Chronic stress can lead to gut flora imbalances.2 Stress during a meal can cause the constriction of blood vessels, increased heart rate and reduced blood flow to the gut, which negatively impacts the digestive process.
On the other hand, when you’re relaxed during a meal, blood flow to the gut is increased, which supports the digestive process.3
Have you ever thought of why you tend to pick some foods and meals over others? Negative emotions as well as positive emotions can be at play in why you eat certain foods when you are feeling down versus when you are feeling happy.
The connection between emotional eating patterns and underlying feelings of loneliness, anxiousness, boredom or stress is what I refer to here as the Food-Mood Connection.
If you are cognizant of the fact that you often choose processed low nutrient foods as a way to sooth yourself when experiencing uncomfortable emotions, follow these behavioral tips:
Emotionally resetting could simply mean taking a moment to switch gears. Consider using one or more of the following behavioral techniques:
Taking a walk while listening to inspiring music
Write in a journal to help put your feelings on paper.
Play with your dog or other pet
Color with your kids and tap into your natural creativity
Do some deep breathing
Take a bubble bath or shower and experience the sensory benefits of feeling refreshed.
You will be amazed at what you can uncover when you take the time to help emotionally shift your mood.
Retraining Your Automatic Eating Habits
You might be surprised to know that mealtime behaviors play an important role in maintaining a healthy weight. It has been shown that adults and children who eat in front of a television are more likely to overeat compared with people who eat together with others at the table. Research has also shown that overweight and obese adults who struggle with overeating are more likely to overeat in isolation.4,5
Benefits and Tips to Mindful Eating
The foods you eat can have a direct impact on your energy and concentration. Becoming aware of how high nutrient meals versus processed foods impact your energy can help you to make better food choices.
What you need to know about a Binge Eating Disorder
Did you know Binge Eating Disorder is the most common eating disorder (BED)7? Binge eating affects an estimated 2.8 million people in the United States.7 In some cases, depression, extreme dieting, and stress can be a culprit in why many people develop Binge Eating Disorder.
BED is characterized by eating a large amount of food in a short amount of time, as well as a feeling of loss of control about what or how much you are eating. If you binge eat at least once a week for 3 months and feel it has been out of control, you may be struggling with this type of eating disorder, and should seek out a specialist for help.
To find more tips on living a healthy lifestyle, visit Optimal Life Science. www.optimallifescience.com. If you or a loved one is interested in clinical support for Binge/Over-Eating and Food Addiction you can contact Behavioral Nutrition at email@example.com or call 617-595-7044 to find out more about how you can get help.
Nicole Romano, BS, MA, LMHC
Founder of Behavioral Nutrition, Founder of Optimal Life Science, Behavioral Therapist and Medical Writer
Behavioral Nutrition, Inc. and Optimal Life Science, Inc.
Website: www.behavioralnutrition.org; Mind-Body Health and Lifestyle Education/ Optimal Life Science
Social Media: Behavioral Nutrition-Twitter, Behavioral Nutrition-Facebook, Optimal Life Science- Facebook; LinkedIn
Nicole Romano is a licensed counselor, who has a bachelor’s degree in exercise science and a master’s degree in mental health counseling and behavioral medicine with a specialization in medical nutrition. She has been a healthcare consultant, eating disorder therapist and medical writer for over 10 years. As the founder of an outpatient holistic eating disorder clinic, she has helped hundreds of clients who have struggled with disordered eating. She continues to provide corporate training events on topics including eating disorder prevention and treatment, weight management techniques and how lifestyle choices impact mental health.
Thakur A, Shakya A, Husaun GM, Emerald M, Kumar V. Gut-Microbiota and Mental Health: Current and Future Perspectives. SciMedCentral, 2014.
Moloney, R.D., Desbonnet, L., Clarke, G. et al. The microbiome: stress, health and disease. Mamm Genome. 2014. 25, 49–74.
C.E. Integr Med (Encinitas) 2019 Aug;18(4):48-53.
Mindful Eating: A Review Of How The Stress-Digestion-Mindfulness Triad May Modulate And Improve Gastrointestinal And Digestive Function
Meule A, Gearhardt AN. Food Addiction in the Light of DSM-5. Nutrients. 2014; 6(9):3653-3671.
Nelson J.B. Mindful Eating: The Art of Presence While You EatDiabetes Spectr. 2017 Aug; 30(3): 171–174.