From the journal

Emotional Eating: A Deeper Understanding

January is the time for quick fix dieting, ‘new year, new me’, high expectations and unrealistic goal setting.

When it comes to dieting there’s often much more to it than the oversimplified saying of ‘eat less and move more’. After Christmas there’s also an added pressure to lose weight which the media pushes despite whether you have weight to lose or not. All of these pressures can be contributors to the struggle to lose weight.

You might be surprised to hear that we’re not here to jump on the ‘new year, new me’ bandwagon. In fact, we’re here to talk more about the emotional aspect of eating. This is something which regularly gets swept under the carpet in all the all-consuming talk around diet and weight loss. It might be January but let’s take weight loss out of the equation for now whilst we highlight some key facts around understanding emotional eating and top tips for what you can do about it.

Firstly, emotional eating is to some degree very normal, it’s not something to feel guilty about, it’s more just something to be aware of. Emotional eating often refers to the excessive overconsumption of highly palatable (high sugar, high fat) foods consumed in one go.

Although, emotional eating can also describe eating patterns which are utilised to manage emotions. One doesn’t always have to be consuming large amounts of high sugar, high fat foods. Everyone’s eating patterns will look different and your emotional eating might look different to someone else’s.

How to know when you’re emotionally eating.

Learning to identify the difference between emotional hunger and true hunger is really important when it comes to identifying whether you’re eating for comfort or whether you’re eating as a result of biological hunger. Below are a few key signs which will help you to tell whether you’re emotional eating are.  

  • If the hunger comes on suddenly
  • If you’re craving certain foods
  • Feeling guilty after eating
  • Acknowledging a large consumption of food but feeling out of touch whilst eating or eating at a fast speed
  • Removing yourself from social situations and comforting yourself with food
  • Negative self-talk around eating

If you’re beginning to feel out of touch with your eating patterns and have noticed some chaos within your eating behaviours there are a few questions which you can ask yourself.

  • Are you experiencing any difficult relationships?
  • Are you stressed at work?
  • Are you worried about something?
  • Is there something you’re not speaking up about?

For some people, their emotional eating may be a familiar pattern which has played a role in their life for many years and therefore it might be rather challenging to identify. In such cases, we encourage you to seek professional personalised help. Should you find that you’re emotional eating every now and again there are a few things which you can do to help to manage this style of eating.

 

  • Engage in self-care activities.

Emotional eating often comes about as a result of stress. Opt for relaxing activities such as reading a book, enjoying a cup of tea or listening to a podcast.

 

  • Get active

This has nothing to do with the food you’re consuming. Getting active can play a huge role in helping to reduce overall stress.

 

  • Sleep, Sleep and Sleep

The combination of a lack of sleep on your mood and appetite hormones makes emotional eating more likely when you’re tired. Try to ensure that you’re getting between 7-9 hours sleep per night.

 

  • Eat a healthy balanced diet

Eating a healthy balanced diet rich in good quality proteins, healthy fats, complex carbohydrates, fruits and vegetables can help to stabilise your blood sugar levels and contribute to a reduction in sugar highs and lows.

 

We hope these tips are helpful. Remember should you feel that you’re struggling to control your eating patterns or your relationship with food then we recommend seeking personalised, professional advice.

Read more

January is the time for quick fix dieting, ‘new year, new me’, high expectations and unrealistic goal setting.

When it comes to dieting there’s often much more to it than the oversimplified saying of ‘eat less and move more’. After Christmas there’s also an added pressure to lose weight which the media pushes despite whether you have weight to lose or not. All of these pressures can be contributors to the struggle to lose weight.

You might be surprised to hear that we’re not here to jump on the ‘new year, new me’ bandwagon. In fact, we’re here to talk more about the emotional aspect of eating. This is something which regularly gets swept under the carpet in all the all-consuming talk around diet and weight loss. It might be January but let’s take weight loss out of the equation for now whilst we highlight some key facts around understanding emotional eating and top tips for what you can do about it.

Firstly, emotional eating is to some degree very normal, it’s not something to feel guilty about, it’s more just something to be aware of. Emotional eating often refers to the excessive overconsumption of highly palatable (high sugar, high fat) foods consumed in one go.

Although, emotional eating can also describe eating patterns which are utilised to manage emotions. One doesn’t always have to be consuming large amounts of high sugar, high fat foods. Everyone’s eating patterns will look different and your emotional eating might look different to someone else’s.

How to know when you’re emotionally eating.

Learning to identify the difference between emotional hunger and true hunger is really important when it comes to identifying whether you’re eating for comfort or whether you’re eating as a result of biological hunger. Below are a few key signs which will help you to tell whether you’re emotional eating are.  

  • If the hunger comes on suddenly
  • If you’re craving certain foods
  • Feeling guilty after eating
  • Acknowledging a large consumption of food but feeling out of touch whilst eating or eating at a fast speed
  • Removing yourself from social situations and comforting yourself with food
  • Negative self-talk around eating

If you’re beginning to feel out of touch with your eating patterns and have noticed some chaos within your eating behaviours there are a few questions which you can ask yourself.

  • Are you experiencing any difficult relationships?
  • Are you stressed at work?
  • Are you worried about something?
  • Is there something you’re not speaking up about?

For some people, their emotional eating may be a familiar pattern which has played a role in their life for many years and therefore it might be rather challenging to identify. In such cases, we encourage you to seek professional personalised help. Should you find that you’re emotional eating every now and again there are a few things which you can do to help to manage this style of eating.

 

  • Engage in self-care activities.

Emotional eating often comes about as a result of stress. Opt for relaxing activities such as reading a book, enjoying a cup of tea or listening to a podcast.

 

  • Get active

This has nothing to do with the food you’re consuming. Getting active can play a huge role in helping to reduce overall stress.

 

  • Sleep, Sleep and Sleep

The combination of a lack of sleep on your mood and appetite hormones makes emotional eating more likely when you’re tired. Try to ensure that you’re getting between 7-9 hours sleep per night.

 

  • Eat a healthy balanced diet

Eating a healthy balanced diet rich in good quality proteins, healthy fats, complex carbohydrates, fruits and vegetables can help to stabilise your blood sugar levels and contribute to a reduction in sugar highs and lows.

 

We hope these tips are helpful. Remember should you feel that you’re struggling to control your eating patterns or your relationship with food then we recommend seeking personalised, professional advice.

Read more


Mood Boosters for Winter Months

As winter has crept up on us and the days are shorter, the mornings and afternoons are darker it’s likely that your mood might fall a little bit lower too. Fear not though, we’re here with our top mood boosting tips to see you through the winter.

Read more

As winter has crept up on us and the days are shorter, the mornings and afternoons are darker it’s likely that your mood might fall a little bit lower too. Fear not though, we’re here with our top mood boosting tips to see you through the winter.

Read more


Taking a Balanced Approach To Food

We hear the word ‘balance’ being thrown around all the time at the moment but what exactly is a ‘healthy balanced diet’ and what does it mean by taking a ‘balanced approach to food’...

To be clear this post isn’t about intuitive eating. There’s an argument that if you’re someone who’s come from food rule to food rule, essentially intuitive eating is just another set of rules for how to eat according to your body. So instead, this is about learning to identify your food habits and adjusting where you seem feasible. Disclaimer: this post is not here to heal a poor relationship with food. Should you feel that your relationship with food needs some work please seek professional personalised advice from a qualified individual or take a look at BEAT website.

So, to start with a healthy balanced diet is ultimately one which works for you, which leaves you feeling satisfied, full, free from gastrointestinal symptoms (although this can be associated with gastrointestinal disorders in which case this should be checked separately) and full of energy. For some that might mean a higher percentage of carbohydrates whereas for other it might mean a higher percentage of proteins or fats. We really are all unique and there is no one size fits all!

Please be aware that everyone’s relationships with food are unique and some much more complex than others. So, whilst this information is here to guide you, it’s not here to fix you!

When you start to realise that we are all unique, we all have different needs and just because something worked for your neighbour isn’t to say it will work for you, you’re much more likely to feel at peace with food. In order to develop a healthier relationship to food you should start to identify any common habits, feelings and emotions in relation to food. Ask yourself the following questions and answer them as honestly as you can.

  1. Do you feel out of control when food is around?
  2. Do you feel extreme emotions in relation to food (high or low)?
  3. Are you distracted from other tasks by thinking about food?

From your answers you’ll be able to asses where you think your relationship with food lies. Should you feel as though you crave a little bit too much or rely on food for comfort a few too many times a week/day then below are a few top tips. Remember though you should always seek advice from a professional should you feel that this is having a greater impact.

Check in with your cravings...

Cravings are completely normal to some degree but if you’re experiencing very strong and regular cravings then ask yourself: Could your blood sugar levels be low? Are you thirsty? Have you had a particularly emotional day? Are you currently stress, anxious or nervous?

Opt for self-care... 

Often feeding your emotions with food can be viewed as a way of looking after yourself. Try taking time out, having a bath with a cuppa, read a book, head for a walk or simply watch a movie and allow some you time.

Don’t deny yourself...

Denying yourself specific foods is likely to lead you to wanting them even more. If you want a slice of chocolate, have it, enjoy it and move on

#Balance... 

Balance isn’t about overeating one day and then pounding it out in the gym to ‘burn it all off’. It’s about incorporating a wide range of foods into your diet. Focusing on fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, wholegrains, beans, pulses, eggs, nuts, seeds and high-quality dairy for the most part and then topping up with the odd slice of cake, square(s) of chocolate or scoop of ice cream.

Be yourself...

Speak the truth. Masking your emotions can sometimes lead you to consuming food by way of release as you’re not releasing your emotions out in the open. Understanding how you’re feeling is challenging although can be really important when it comes to your relationship with food.

    These are just a few useful insights which can help make a dent into understanding your relationship to food and finding #balance. Remember though if this is something which has additional roots then please do seek advice.

     

    Read more

    We hear the word ‘balance’ being thrown around all the time at the moment but what exactly is a ‘healthy balanced diet’ and what does it mean by taking a ‘balanced approach to food’...

    To be clear this post isn’t about intuitive eating. There’s an argument that if you’re someone who’s come from food rule to food rule, essentially intuitive eating is just another set of rules for how to eat according to your body. So instead, this is about learning to identify your food habits and adjusting where you seem feasible. Disclaimer: this post is not here to heal a poor relationship with food. Should you feel that your relationship with food needs some work please seek professional personalised advice from a qualified individual or take a look at BEAT website.

    So, to start with a healthy balanced diet is ultimately one which works for you, which leaves you feeling satisfied, full, free from gastrointestinal symptoms (although this can be associated with gastrointestinal disorders in which case this should be checked separately) and full of energy. For some that might mean a higher percentage of carbohydrates whereas for other it might mean a higher percentage of proteins or fats. We really are all unique and there is no one size fits all!

    Please be aware that everyone’s relationships with food are unique and some much more complex than others. So, whilst this information is here to guide you, it’s not here to fix you!

    When you start to realise that we are all unique, we all have different needs and just because something worked for your neighbour isn’t to say it will work for you, you’re much more likely to feel at peace with food. In order to develop a healthier relationship to food you should start to identify any common habits, feelings and emotions in relation to food. Ask yourself the following questions and answer them as honestly as you can.

    1. Do you feel out of control when food is around?
    2. Do you feel extreme emotions in relation to food (high or low)?
    3. Are you distracted from other tasks by thinking about food?

    From your answers you’ll be able to asses where you think your relationship with food lies. Should you feel as though you crave a little bit too much or rely on food for comfort a few too many times a week/day then below are a few top tips. Remember though you should always seek advice from a professional should you feel that this is having a greater impact.

    Check in with your cravings...

    Cravings are completely normal to some degree but if you’re experiencing very strong and regular cravings then ask yourself: Could your blood sugar levels be low? Are you thirsty? Have you had a particularly emotional day? Are you currently stress, anxious or nervous?

    Opt for self-care... 

    Often feeding your emotions with food can be viewed as a way of looking after yourself. Try taking time out, having a bath with a cuppa, read a book, head for a walk or simply watch a movie and allow some you time.

    Don’t deny yourself...

    Denying yourself specific foods is likely to lead you to wanting them even more. If you want a slice of chocolate, have it, enjoy it and move on

    #Balance... 

    Balance isn’t about overeating one day and then pounding it out in the gym to ‘burn it all off’. It’s about incorporating a wide range of foods into your diet. Focusing on fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, wholegrains, beans, pulses, eggs, nuts, seeds and high-quality dairy for the most part and then topping up with the odd slice of cake, square(s) of chocolate or scoop of ice cream.

    Be yourself...

    Speak the truth. Masking your emotions can sometimes lead you to consuming food by way of release as you’re not releasing your emotions out in the open. Understanding how you’re feeling is challenging although can be really important when it comes to your relationship with food.

      These are just a few useful insights which can help make a dent into understanding your relationship to food and finding #balance. Remember though if this is something which has additional roots then please do seek advice.

       

      Read more


      Mindful Eating: What is it and how can you do it?

      Mindful Eating is a term which has gained a fair amount of media coverage recently...

      It’s also quickly being thrown around without really being understood. So, in this article we’ve broken down what mindful eating is, why it’s important and how you can start to embrace it a little more. Eating mindfully is allowing an open-minded awareness of how the food we choose to eat affects one’s body, mind and feelings.

      We’ve all been guilty on working through lunch and not even noticing that we finished the last bite. Eating mindlessly is when we eat whilst distracted and we’re not aware of the food we’re shovelling down. Mindless eating can impair the body’s ability to digest food properly.

      Digestion starts long before you put the first bite into your mouth. The smells, the thoughts and the food preparation helps to stimulate the production of amylase in the mouth and digestive enzymes to help breakdown the food. This is known as the cephalic phase of feeding and it’s a crucial part to get the brain and the digestive system all on the same page.

      When you eat mindlessly you’re much more likely to over eat as it takes longer for the brain to identify that you’re full. You’re also less likely to feel as satisfied from your food so you end up hunting for more which might not help when it comes to weight management.

      The other issue with eating mindlessly is that there’s an increased risk that you won’t be absorbing nutrients as well if your digestive tract isn’t being as affective as it should be. So how can you start focusing more on what you’re eating? Below we’ve listed our top 3 tips when it comes to eating more mindfully...

      Remove distractions

      TV, social media, phones, magazines, newspapers etc. are all huge distractions when it comes to eating mindlessly.

      Focus 

      Focus on the textures, flavours, aromas, any memories you might have when you think about that food. How it’s affecting the way you feel.

      Stick to one eating place in the home 

      When we tend to eat in every room we’re much more likely to be distracted and eat more mindlessly. Stick to one room of your living space to help you associate that spot with food and avoid eating mindlessly elsewhere. Of course when you’re outside the home it can be a bit more difficult. 

      Bonus tip: STOP! 

      It’s too normal to be working through lunch or on your way to a meeting. Start looking after yourself and putting time in to eat lunch (without any distractions). This can also help you to control stress throughout the day as you can take a step back and some time for yourself. There you have our top tips on mindful eating. We urge you all to eat more mindfully and start to notice how the food you’re eating really makes you feel!

      To help reduce stress and time as a barrier to mindful eating check out ours meals here.

      Read more

      Mindful Eating is a term which has gained a fair amount of media coverage recently...

      It’s also quickly being thrown around without really being understood. So, in this article we’ve broken down what mindful eating is, why it’s important and how you can start to embrace it a little more. Eating mindfully is allowing an open-minded awareness of how the food we choose to eat affects one’s body, mind and feelings.

      We’ve all been guilty on working through lunch and not even noticing that we finished the last bite. Eating mindlessly is when we eat whilst distracted and we’re not aware of the food we’re shovelling down. Mindless eating can impair the body’s ability to digest food properly.

      Digestion starts long before you put the first bite into your mouth. The smells, the thoughts and the food preparation helps to stimulate the production of amylase in the mouth and digestive enzymes to help breakdown the food. This is known as the cephalic phase of feeding and it’s a crucial part to get the brain and the digestive system all on the same page.

      When you eat mindlessly you’re much more likely to over eat as it takes longer for the brain to identify that you’re full. You’re also less likely to feel as satisfied from your food so you end up hunting for more which might not help when it comes to weight management.

      The other issue with eating mindlessly is that there’s an increased risk that you won’t be absorbing nutrients as well if your digestive tract isn’t being as affective as it should be. So how can you start focusing more on what you’re eating? Below we’ve listed our top 3 tips when it comes to eating more mindfully...

      Remove distractions

      TV, social media, phones, magazines, newspapers etc. are all huge distractions when it comes to eating mindlessly.

      Focus 

      Focus on the textures, flavours, aromas, any memories you might have when you think about that food. How it’s affecting the way you feel.

      Stick to one eating place in the home 

      When we tend to eat in every room we’re much more likely to be distracted and eat more mindlessly. Stick to one room of your living space to help you associate that spot with food and avoid eating mindlessly elsewhere. Of course when you’re outside the home it can be a bit more difficult. 

      Bonus tip: STOP! 

      It’s too normal to be working through lunch or on your way to a meeting. Start looking after yourself and putting time in to eat lunch (without any distractions). This can also help you to control stress throughout the day as you can take a step back and some time for yourself. There you have our top tips on mindful eating. We urge you all to eat more mindfully and start to notice how the food you’re eating really makes you feel!

      To help reduce stress and time as a barrier to mindful eating check out ours meals here.

      Read more


      Health benefits of Chocolate...

      In light of World Chocolate Day we wanted to give credit where credits due!

      Chocolate can sometimes get a bad rep. It’s commonly referred to as a ‘guilty pleasure’ and there appears to be a common misconception that eating indulgent food that tastes good must be terrible for your overall health. However, as we hope you are aware by now. Nutrition doesn’t have to be black and white. As cliché as it may sound… it’s all about #balance.

      It’s not rocket science to know that consuming a family pack of chocolate on the regular isn’t the smartest plan, although a little bit of chocolate here and there may not be quite so terrible after all! Let us explain…Chocolate comes in all shapes, sizes and with many fillings. So whilst a crème egg might not be your best friend, a few squares of dark chocolate has actually been associated with some health benefits.

      So what’s dark chocolate got that milk chocolate hasn’t? Well to start with milk chocolate is often higher in refined sugar, additives and saturated fats and as a result it can often lure you into consuming way more than you originally had planned or wanted. On the other hand dark chocolate is richer, lower in refined sugar and additives meaning that it’s actually harder to over consume as it’s slightly more bitter and richer in taste.

      Aside from the fact it’s not loaded with the same ingredients as milk chocolate it’s actually also got some health benefits. It’s at this point you’re likely wondering what they are…

      Reduced risk of cardiovascular disease

      The key component in chocolate is cocoa which is rich in flavanols (a natural chemical found in plants). Flavanols have been found to help increase the elasticity of blood vessels which stimulates vasodilation (this is the widening of blood vessels), improves blood flow and consequently helps to reduce blood pressure. This can prove beneficial in reducing risks associated with cardiovascular disease. 

      Mood enhancer

      Chocolate contains an amino acid known as tryptophan which is required for the production of serotonin (also known as the happy hormone). It’s no wonder you feel a little bit happier with every bite! 

      Increased alertness

      Cocoa contains a combination of caffeine and theobromine (a natural chemical compound) and when combined caffeine and theobromine block the uptake of adenosine. Adenosine is a neurotransmitter which is released slowly throughout the day and contributes to sleepiness. When adenosine uptake is blocked, tiredness is delayed and alertness is increased.

      Improved cognitive function

      Some studies have suggested that chocolate has been associated with a lower risk in cognitive decline. However, these studies are correlational which makes it difficult to conclude that chocolate will have a direct impact on cognitive function but it’s still an interesting and promising theory! This may also be due to the role of caffeine and theobromine and their effects on alertness as mentioned above.

      Improve cholesterol profile

      Surprisingly chocolate has been found to reduce oxidation of low-density lipoproteins (LDL) these are the types of fat droplets in the blood which can contribute to atherosclerosis (the build-up of plaque in the arteries which over time can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease). It has also shown to increase HDL (the good cholesterol). Higher levels of HDL are beneficial to your total cholesterol profile.

      Whilst all of these factors sound great and there certainly is some benefit to eating small amounts of dark chocolate the key is moderation. Opt for high quality dark chocolate where possible and enjoy it in moderation!

       

      Keen, C. L., Holt, R. R., Oteiza, P. I., Fraga, C. G., & Schmitz, H. H. (2005). Cocoa antioxidants and cardiovascular health–. The American journal of clinical nutrition81(1), 298S-303S.

      Martínez-Pinilla, E., Oñatibia-Astibia, A., & Franco, R. (2015). The relevance of theobromine for the beneficial effects of cocoa consumption. Frontiers in pharmacology6, 30.

      Moreira, A., Diógenes, M. J., de Mendonça, A., Lunet, N., & Barros, H. (2016). Chocolate consumption is associated with a lower risk of cognitive decline. Journal of Alzheimer's disease53(1), 85-93.

       

      Read more

      In light of World Chocolate Day we wanted to give credit where credits due!

      Chocolate can sometimes get a bad rep. It’s commonly referred to as a ‘guilty pleasure’ and there appears to be a common misconception that eating indulgent food that tastes good must be terrible for your overall health. However, as we hope you are aware by now. Nutrition doesn’t have to be black and white. As cliché as it may sound… it’s all about #balance.

      It’s not rocket science to know that consuming a family pack of chocolate on the regular isn’t the smartest plan, although a little bit of chocolate here and there may not be quite so terrible after all! Let us explain…Chocolate comes in all shapes, sizes and with many fillings. So whilst a crème egg might not be your best friend, a few squares of dark chocolate has actually been associated with some health benefits.

      So what’s dark chocolate got that milk chocolate hasn’t? Well to start with milk chocolate is often higher in refined sugar, additives and saturated fats and as a result it can often lure you into consuming way more than you originally had planned or wanted. On the other hand dark chocolate is richer, lower in refined sugar and additives meaning that it’s actually harder to over consume as it’s slightly more bitter and richer in taste.

      Aside from the fact it’s not loaded with the same ingredients as milk chocolate it’s actually also got some health benefits. It’s at this point you’re likely wondering what they are…

      Reduced risk of cardiovascular disease

      The key component in chocolate is cocoa which is rich in flavanols (a natural chemical found in plants). Flavanols have been found to help increase the elasticity of blood vessels which stimulates vasodilation (this is the widening of blood vessels), improves blood flow and consequently helps to reduce blood pressure. This can prove beneficial in reducing risks associated with cardiovascular disease. 

      Mood enhancer

      Chocolate contains an amino acid known as tryptophan which is required for the production of serotonin (also known as the happy hormone). It’s no wonder you feel a little bit happier with every bite! 

      Increased alertness

      Cocoa contains a combination of caffeine and theobromine (a natural chemical compound) and when combined caffeine and theobromine block the uptake of adenosine. Adenosine is a neurotransmitter which is released slowly throughout the day and contributes to sleepiness. When adenosine uptake is blocked, tiredness is delayed and alertness is increased.

      Improved cognitive function

      Some studies have suggested that chocolate has been associated with a lower risk in cognitive decline. However, these studies are correlational which makes it difficult to conclude that chocolate will have a direct impact on cognitive function but it’s still an interesting and promising theory! This may also be due to the role of caffeine and theobromine and their effects on alertness as mentioned above.

      Improve cholesterol profile

      Surprisingly chocolate has been found to reduce oxidation of low-density lipoproteins (LDL) these are the types of fat droplets in the blood which can contribute to atherosclerosis (the build-up of plaque in the arteries which over time can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease). It has also shown to increase HDL (the good cholesterol). Higher levels of HDL are beneficial to your total cholesterol profile.

      Whilst all of these factors sound great and there certainly is some benefit to eating small amounts of dark chocolate the key is moderation. Opt for high quality dark chocolate where possible and enjoy it in moderation!

       

      Keen, C. L., Holt, R. R., Oteiza, P. I., Fraga, C. G., & Schmitz, H. H. (2005). Cocoa antioxidants and cardiovascular health–. The American journal of clinical nutrition81(1), 298S-303S.

      Martínez-Pinilla, E., Oñatibia-Astibia, A., & Franco, R. (2015). The relevance of theobromine for the beneficial effects of cocoa consumption. Frontiers in pharmacology6, 30.

      Moreira, A., Diógenes, M. J., de Mendonça, A., Lunet, N., & Barros, H. (2016). Chocolate consumption is associated with a lower risk of cognitive decline. Journal of Alzheimer's disease53(1), 85-93.

       

      Read more