The Dangers of Emotional Eating

Have you ever found yourself bunging on food after going through a particularly bad experience? If so, you are not alone. Many people turn to food after going through a divorce, getting fired from a job, or losing a loved one. This is what is known as emotional eating and it is a much more common problem than we think.

Studies show that women are more susceptible to emotional eating than men, although there are certainly some men who do suffer from the problem as well. It has also been reported that three-fourths of all cases of overeating is due to emotions.

People find comfort in eating, which is why they indulge in food when they are anxious, depressed, stressed out, or nervous. While it’s only natural to find a means of comfort during difficult times, it has to be understood that some of these supposed solutions can actually make matters worse. Emotional eating is one such example.

When you eat to calm your emotions, you are not paying attention to the nutritional content of the food that you are eating. In fact, the foods that are commonly consumed by emotional eaters are those that contain very high amounts of fats, sugars and sodium, which are not good for the health at all. Instead, these foods are huge contributors to weight gain, which is why most chronic emotional eaters are obese or overweight.

If you are not sure of whether you are an emotional eater or you just really love food, you can find out by asking yourself the following questions:

• Do I immediately turn to food when I am anxious, sad, or frightened?
• Does eating make me happy?
• Do I eat more than five times a day?
• Do I often eat when I am not hungry?
• Do I usually gain weight after going through a negative experience?

If you have answered yes to even one of these questions, there’s a good chance that you are an emotional eater. If you have been trapped in this habit for years, it may take a long time for you to correct it but rest assured that it can be done.

One of the most effective solutions is to divert your attention towards something else whenever you feel the need to eat outside your regular meal time. For some people, physical activities are very effective while for others, hobbies like gardening or embroidery help a lot.

No matter which method you choose, it is very important to surround yourself with a support group that can encourage you when you feel like giving up or distract you when temptations are around.