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Emotional eating is sometimes called "mindless eating" because we often don't think about what we're doing and let our unconscious habits or drives take over.
Become aware of why you're eating when you eat. Maintain a food journal. If you have to log what you eat right before you eat it, you may realize you're eating for the wrong reasons, and can then move onto another approach to deal with your feelings.
When you’re under stress, your body is likely producing higher levels of cortisol, a stress hormone that tends to make people crave sweet and salty food—the stuff that’s generally not good for us.
Create a simple stress management plan, or find stress relievers that fit with your specific situation.
If you’re using food to muffle your feelings in a difficult relationship, try assertiveness instead.
If food is your only treat at a job you hate, try techniques for finding satisfaction at your job, or get a different one. If you look to solution-based coping mechanisms to cut down on the stress in your life, you won’t need food to help you cope.
Mindfulness, the act of being present and aware, can help people get out of the habit of acting on their cravings without thinking.
Mindfulness exercises are simple to learn and wonderful for promoting resilience to stress in general, so you really can't lose.
If these techniques don’t completely eliminate your emotional eating urges, go ahead and indulge—but use healthier fare.
Munch on veggies or healthy snacks instead of chips; savor one small piece of dark chocolate instead of binging on a whole chocolate muffin from the coffee shop.
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Negative emotions may lead to a feeling of emptiness or an emotional void.
Food is believed to be a way to fill that void and create a false feeling of “
While filling up could work in the moment, eating because of negative emotions often leaves people feeling more upset than before.
This cycle typically doesn’t end until a person addresses emotional needs head-on.
Stress can prevent you from keeping a healthy weight.
Every time you're stressed, your adrenal glands release adrenaline and cortisol. Your body releases gluc...
With increased levels of cortisol, your body is supplied with glucose for energy, and your body signals the need for extra sugar.
The downside of eating sugar is that your body tends to store sugar, especially after stressful situations, as abdominal fat. The vicious cycle continues: stress, cortisol release, craving sugar, weight gain.
Cortisol slows down your metabolism, decreasing your ability to lose weight.
Researchers found that women who reported one or more stressors burned fewer calories than non-stressed women. Stressed women also had higher insulin levels, resulting in fat storage.
We often associate eating with relief or even excitement, and it’s only natural that we’d reach for those same feelings when we’re worried or sad.
Comfort foods don’t tend to be healthy. We want cake or pasta or chips when we’re emotionally eating. We have emotional memories around certain foods, which are more likely to involve your grandma’s lasagna than a salad.
But after we eat for emotional reasons, we’re replacing our original feelings with the emotions that arise out of eating.
We associate comfort food with positive memories.
Think about all the happy and comforting memories you have involving food. Maybe your family used to celebrate occasions with a trip to the ice cream shop, or maybe your mom or dad used to soften the blow of a bad day with macaroni and cheese. When you’re feeling rejected or anxious today, eating one of those foods is an instant connection to that soothing time.