What Causes Emotional Eating?

What Causes Emotional Eating?

keep it under control

If you have attempted to stifle sorrow or celebrate joy by eating, you know what mood-based eating is all about. It is normal to celebrate your birthday with some cake and ice cream, but emotional eating gets out of control when it happens most of the time.


This can lead to health problems like overweight and obesity, diabetes and heart problems, and brain-based issues like stress, anxiety and depression. People who don’t have a problem with emotional eating tend to believe it is caused by a simple lack of self-control. The emotional eater should just “toughen up”, and stop overeating as a response to feelings rather than hunger. 

That approach leads to no resolution,
because people with eating disorders are sometimes the most dedicated to
solving their problems. They go on diets and seek the aid of mental health
professionals, but for one reason or another, for some people, emotions
continue to trigger an eating response.


Why is this?


What is causing so many people to eat in an
attempt to regulate their moods, rather than for hunger? The answers are many,
and as diverse as individuals are. However, nutritionists, psychologists and
eating disorder specialists have identified some triggers which show up again
and again when emotional eating is present.


If you find any of the following causes of
this eating issue are present in your life, it can help you avoid giving into
eating for emotional reasons.


Hating Your Body


You may think people unhappy with the way
they look physically, will diet and eat less in an attempt to create the
transformation they are looking for. However, it is very common to do just the
opposite. You may hate the way you look, and this opinion is negatively
reinforced by a countless stream of marketing messages which tell you that you
must look a certain way.


You don’t like how your body looks, and
this negative feeling causes you to eat comfort foods so that you can feel
better momentarily. After your emotional eating session, you realize that you
probably didn’t do your body any favors. This drives home your feelings of
shame and self-hatred, unhealthy and untrue emotions that you tried to appease
with food. Loving yourself now is necessary to stop the emotional eating cycle
which is causing more damage to your body.


A Lack of Awareness


Unconscious eating is often emotionally
based. You are not conscious of what you are doing, what you are eating or why
you are eating. When a moment of clarity and consciousness hits you, you
realize what you have just eaten. To cure this, be aware and mindful of every
time you eat, and honest with yourself as to why you are eating.


Eating Is the Only Thing You Have To Look
Forward To


For some, food is perceived as the only
good thing in their life. Therapists say emotional eaters often look forward to
their meals, because they see eating and its temporary pleasure as the best
thing they ever experience.


Some foods cause the release of chemicals
that trigger a pleasure response as powerful as cocaine and heroin.
Unfortunately, these are usually junk foods that are less than healthy.


Going Too Long Without Eating


Some people tend to eat just one meal a
day. Unfortunately, this leaves your body starved of the nutrients it needs
most of the day. This means you are mentally not prepared to deal with urges
and cravings, and when you finally do eat, it is very easy to overeat comfort
foods to answer the “I have been starving all day!” message your
brain is giving off.

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Rod Stone
Publisher and Supplier of Healthy Living information and products to improve
your life.

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