The Dangers of Emotional Eating
You’ve had a horrible day at work and come home completely exhausted. Without thinking, the first thing you do when you get home is head to the kitchen. You find yourself some ice cream, chocolate, or chips and start munching. All of a sudden, you feel much better…until twenty minutes later, when you realize you just consumed a whole bunch of empty calories. Whoops!
Welcome to emotional eating. We’ve probably all done it, and many times, we may not have realized. What exactly is it? For one, it is an easy and quick way to sabotage your weight loss and hinder your accomplishments. Emotional eating is essentially when we eat in response to some emotion we are experiencing and do not know how/want to deal with. Stress, sadness, and boredom are all emotions that can trigger emotional eating. If we feel one (or more) of these, we automatically turn to “comforting” food (i.e. fatty, sugary, salty) to relieve our negative emotions.
What’s the big deal? It’s only an isolated eating session.
Unfortunately, that is not usually the case. Someone who eats emotionally likely does so to cope with his/her emotions. This means that it is the person’s way of dealing with them, which means that emotional eating is not at all an isolated incident. Someone who makes a connection between negative emotion and food is likely to eat emotionally more than just once. The problem with this, aside from snacking on unhealthy foods, is that it can lead to weight gain and/or can sabotage a weight loss plan. This is especially true if, for example, someone is always stressed out or is going through a few months of difficulty and sadness. Constant stress and “hard times” can mean a lot of emotional eating and a lot of weight gain.
Unfortunately, a lot of us do it because of an internalized belief that food brings happiness. (Does it?) Fortunately, there are steps that can be taken to help avoid emotional eating and undo this connection:
Keep track of all occasions in which you eat emotionally. A good indication of this is whether or not you’re hungry when you eat and what you choose to eat.
Try to replace the unhealthy foods you’re snacking on with healthier alternatives. Better yet, look for alternative ways to deal with your emotions. (such as learning some breathing exercises or taking a quick walk)
Keep your house/office free of unhealthy items that you turn to when stressed out, bored, or upset.
There are several other ways to help you avoid emotional eating. The key thing is to practice, and to make sure that your emotions do not come in between you and your weight loss goals. If you’d like more information on how to do so, talk to your weight loss coach at Florida Aesthetics today!