In times of stress or anxiety, many of us turn to food to comfort ourselves. But the reason why we do this is complex. Basically, our bodies have a weight set-point, controlled by our brain. This ensures that our vital parameters are controlled and maintained by the body.
This set-point also controls our weight, which is the result of many things like our genetic set-point, habits, and interaction with the external environment. For example, if the body loses or gains weight, this set-point measures the change and sends out signals that can make the body either regain the lost weight or lose the weight that was gained.
Our emotions play a significant role in making the body overrule the mind. They may be the hidden factor that helps the body get stuck at a particular weight or make the body lose or gain weight. If I may hazard a hypothesis, I believe that our emotional set-point influences the body’s set-point. The following emotions can play havoc with any diet regime:
1. Anxiety: When women get anxious, they crave foods that are sweet or crunchy.
2. Anger and frustration:These emotions translate into overeating spicy, sweet or sour foods.
3. Boredom: Feeling bored or listless can be the first step towards a downward spiral, and also lead to excessive eating.
4. Low self-esteem: Feeling low and unloved can dent a women’s self-esteem, which invariably leads to overeating. Generally, women are more self-conscious and harsh. This may get aggravated by cruel comments from others, which can send them into a negative spiral. This often leads to overeating. Feeling unappreciated can be a blow to a woman’s self-esteem. Under such situations, many women who feel less appreciated may internalise the hurt by overeating.
5. Fear: This is a powerful emotion and can lead to immense amounts of weight gain. Many people who experience fear use food as a coping mechanism. Comfort eating is a common result of subconscious fears.
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From HT Brunch, November 24
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