Because of hard work, especially physical labor, some people need to eat a large amount of food to replenish the body In such individuals, overeating may occasionally occur. But most overeating takes place because of emotional factors, and that IS what we will be considering here.
Food nourishes the body; love nourishes the soul. When you are with a loving friend or close family members, you can become so happy that you forget to eat. You feel no need for food at that time because you receive a higher food-love.
But when a person doesn't receive that love or feel that happiness, he or she becomes lonely or has a feeling of rejection or of not being loved. Food may become the substitute for love. So eating, in order to sup�press feelings of loneliness, grief, sadness, or depression, is the emotional, psychological cause of overeating. Statistically, overeating happens more in women than in men.
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From an Ayurvedic perspective, due to emotional factors and stress, prana vata stim�ulates jatharagni, the gastric fire, and this stimulation activates the stomach. The stim�ulation is translated or experienced as hunger, and that is the reason people may eat more food.
There are many ways to deal with the problem of overeating. With a little care, it can be overcome.
First, you have to let go of your feelings of loneliness and not being loved. Write about your feelings. Express them. That way, the energy that is blocked in the solar plexus starts releasing, and emotional hunger will begin to subside.
Whenever you feel emotionally hungry, sit quietly and pay attention to your breath. Or do 10 to 15 minutes of So-Hum meditation .
Shitali pranayama (making a tube of the tongue and inhaling through that tube into the belly) will also be quite helpful.
Or take 12 deep breaths, then drink a cup of warm water. This will help dissolve
the emotional hunger, and overeating can be avoided.
Yoga exercises such as the Moon Salu�tation, Camel pose, Cobra pose, and Spinal Twist will help you control overeating due to emotional factors.
Whenever you have emotional cravings for food, take a brisk walk for 20 minutes in the fresh air. That will help reduce the cravings.
If you feel you must eat, then eat some light food. Try some light crackers, or some cereal or grains such as millet or rye. Or drink some fruit juice. Follow a low-fat diet. That way you won't have to deny yourself when you feel like eating, but the light food won't put on weight or fat.
Eating 1 ripe banana, chopped up with 1 teaspoon ghee and a pinch of cardamom, is effective for pacifying emotional, obsessive eating habits.
When you are hungry, here is one way to find out whether it is an emotional craving or a real biological need. Drink some licorice tea, chamomile tea, or mint tea. If it was emotional hunger, the warm soothing tea will take care of it, and you will feel better. If you are really hungry and need some food, the tea won't diminish your appetite.
If your overeating is due to hyperthyroidism, which is a meta�bolic disorder, Ayurveda suggests using kaishore guggulu. This herbal compound helps to regulate metabolism and pacifies overac�tive thyroid.
When you feel hungry, drinking 1 cup of warm milk boiled with 1/2 teaspoon of brahmi will help you control overeating.
Roast 1 teaspoon coriander seeds and 1 tea�spoon fennel seeds on a heavy iron pan, without any oil. (Stir constantly to avoid burning.) Add a pinch of salt, let the mixture cool, and eat it. It will help with indigestion.
Another aid to indigestion from overeat�ing is to drink a cupful of water into which you have added the juice of half a lemon; just before drinking, add a pinch of baking soda, stir, and drink quickly.
A person having lack of sleep tends to eat more. Energy gets wasted while awakening at night or due to disturbed sleep; such persons tend to eat more of carbohydrates and fatty foods rather than light foods which are another cause of overeating. A minimum of 6 hours of sleep is required to stay healthy.
If you have liking for a particular type of food, (and if it is not good for health), eat it once in a while rather than avoiding it completely. Because the second time you see it, you will tend to eat it more.
Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables than fried foods like chips etc. it will satisfy your hunger and will not harm even if you have taken more. Having boiled vegetables is nutritious as well as it will tend to remove the ill effects of overeating. You can also have boiled green gram for a snack.
Form the habit of taking foods at intervals. See to that it comprises all the nutrients required per day. Don't restrict too much from eating and also don't gobble up after starving for a long time. Eat moderately at regular intervals.