I OVERCAME EMOTIONAL EATING

“My name is Hasmita Jamnadass, though many people call me Hash. I am 49, and a mother to two children aged 23 and 24 years. Am a Counseling and Wellness Therapist by profession.

Becoming a mother, didn’t really affect my body image as I was physically active throughout my twenties and ate healthy. I was a gym and aerobics freak, and continued my exercise regimen all through pregnancy and after childbirth.

Life’s Curveballs

Over the years, I managed to keep my weight in check until something major happened in our family.

My husband was diagnosed with cancer and unknowingly I became an emotional eater. I had never been obese but I started putting on weight fast especially fat around my belly. With time, my weight gain started spiraling out of control.

My comfort food became eating lots of chocolate bars! Chocolates became my partner in controlling my emotions and dealing with what I was going through mentally. I became a chocoholic.

I can never forget how I could go through almost 400 grams in one go and not share with anyone!

Before I knew it, my clothes became tighter, my belly continued to grow, and I was getting chubbier heading towards obesity. At this point, my sugar levels were borderline with a risk of me becoming diabetic.

Sadly, I lost my husband and to cope with the grief I continued eating more food and more chocolates!

At this point, I was not only dealing with loss and grief but also an empty nest.  Soon after my husband’s death, my children left for university abroad and I remained alone. I was overwhelmed with adjusting to life and continued with my emotional eating pattern.

This pattern of emotional eating, not exercising and feeling depressed continued for a while until one day my son told me to get it together! I could see the fear and sadness in his eyes and it finally pushed me to do something.

To get me back into my fitness journey, he made me sign up to a gym and to keep me motivated, he joined me in my workouts especially while he was visiting during semester breaks. Once he left to continue with his studies, I continued to work out. I have been working out consistently for the past 3 years and am very proud of how far I have come in reigniting my passion for fitness and wellness.

My Fitness Preferences

I love lifting weights in the gym. I like to strength train to keep my muscles and body toned.  

I am also an enthusiastic yogi and practicing yoga keeps me well stretched and flexible, which is very important for someone in my age category.

Hiking is my other love. Growing up, I was accustomed to walking long distances and it inspired my love and passion for nature and outdoors.This has been my inspiration for hiking, and once again I have become an avid hiker. Last year, I was so proud to summit Mt.Kilimanjaro!

The Turning Point

Recognizing the fact that I was an emotional eater was the turning point. I began changing my eating habits and I knew that beyond taking up exercise, I needed to change how I dealt with emotional stuff.

As a Counseling Psychotherapist, I can confidently share these tips which I have used to overcome emotional eating. I am sure these tips will be of help to anyone reading this and is struggling.

  • Take a breath
  • Ask yourself – Am I really hungry? If yes, eat mindfully. That is, check in with your hunger cues, choose what you want, and be mindful while eating. Pay attention to your senses, emotions and thoughts.  If no, ask yourself – what’s up? what am I thinking? feeling? And most importantly, am I willing to try an alternative first before turning to food to self-sooth? An alternative to food could be; deep breathing, a cup of tea, a long bath, a long walk, calling a friend, drawing, reading, listening to music, crocheting, knitting e.t.c the list is endless.
  • Eat mindfully. If you’re not willing to find an alternative and you just want to eat, then eat but eat mindfully and again check in with your cues. Choose what you want, and be mindful while eating by paying attention to your senses, emotions and thoughts.

Pay attention to how often you use food as a coping tool, and try to adapt to better ways of dealing with emotional eating.

Going Forward

Fitness and good nutrition continue to play an important role in my well-being both physically and mentally. I am determined to lead a healthy, disease-free life, age gracefully and continue to look after my beautiful self and body!

Parting Shot

Reflecting on where I am now, I feel blessed to have a disease-free strong body.  Exercising has become part of my daily regime just like dressing up and showering. There is no stopping. Exercising has become a habit to me.

My advice to all mums young or old, is to look after your beautiful selves both physically and mentally by creating a healthy lifestyle and keeping active.

Create your ‘me –time’. It’s never too late or early to enforce fitness into your daily life.  When you think of fitness as a necessity and not a requirement, it becomes easier to create that time and the motivation to stay consistent will come from within.  It’s all a matter of perspective.  And don’t forget to watch your food, especially emotion eating to deal with sadness, grief, disappointments, tough days etc.

The mantra that has kept me motivated and I hope it inspires you too is that, “FOOD IS THE MOST ABUSED ANXIETY DRUG. EXERCISE IS THE MOST UNDERUTILIZED ANTI-DEPRESSANT.

What I know now, it’s better to choose to exercise and be a mindful eater. It’s life changing…

2 Responses

  1. Thank you for this post!
    It is really beautiful and encouraging to know I’m not the only one who has been through emotional eating, it was something I was quite ashamed of. I yoyoed my weight through this. Up and down, my emotions controlling how I took care of myself in this regard!
    I’m still not perfect sometimes just eat when I’m bored and over indulging when feeling impulsive.
    Have screenshot your tips, next time I want to eat impulsively.

    It is also really nice to hear that you were encouraged by your son and that he was supportive of you. That’s beautiful that you both have a relationship like this! Well done!

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