Experts Reveal What Triggers Emotional Eating And How To Control It
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.
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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.
Events don’t have a meaning; we give them a meaning. The meaning of eating is, ‘I’m going to be happy. I’m not going to be in emotional discomfort. I’ll have this wonderful experience.
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.
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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.
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Eating can be an emotional activity, with deep connections on how our brains and bodies work. Emotional overeaters are:
Overeaters tend to have an 'all-or-nothing' approach oscillating between an all-good diet or an outright unhealthy one, depending on the particular underlying emotion.
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