Are you binging on chips, biscuits and other snack items all day when working from home while in quarantine? It could be a sign of stress eating.
Dr Kedar Tilwe, psychiatrist, Hiranandani Hospital, Vashi, explained to indianexpress.com, “Stress eating is a way of coping with situational anxiety or any negative emotion or thought. This is when you eat without being mindful about what or how much you are eating; you keep eating even if not hungry.” If this eating pattern extends beyond the normal limit, it can potentially lead to eating disorders, the doctor pointed out.
Why we binge on junk foods
Stress eating usually involves binging on our comfort foods. And more often than not, these include junk foods, desserts and other processed foods. “These foods have high glycemic index (a value that determines how quickly these foods cause an increase in blood glucose levels) and satiate you. When you are stressed, you tend to opt for foods to kills your hunger pangs. Any food with high glycemic index does that. The only problem is these foods do not actually curb hunger. So, usually you still feel the need to eat after some time.”
Risks of stress eating
Stress eating can affect your physical health, in terms of your metabolism or cardiovascular health. It also puts you at risk of developing lifestyle diseases, which have their own harmful effects, Dr Tilwe remarked. Besides, this form of eating behvaviour is also associated with a sense of intense guilt. “As you keep eating, you also tend to repent. This feeling is transient or it can also persist and increase the risk of anxiety or depression,” said Dr Tilwe.
Tips to cope with stress eating
The psychiatrist suggested some ways you can avoid stress eating while working from home:
1. Identify a workplace at home and stick to that place when you are working. And restrict your access to junk foods in the area during the time.
2. Adhere to a strict daily routine, which we tend to give up on when working from home.
3. Now that you are at home the entire day, have full healthy meals at regular intervals.
4. When you eat, avoid watching television or your phone. Learn to eat mindfully, which is, being aware of the taste and texture of the food you are eating.
5. You can eat your comfort foods but do it in moderation.
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