What is emotional eating and how it is affects your body?


Certain foods are given the prefix ‘comfort’ for a reason. They help in comforting you by pacifying your mood. However, while the magnitude of comfort most people get from food is fairly mild, others rely a lot on foods to help them feel happy and suppress negative feelings. This can lead to some serious issues like food addiction or emotional eating. In this article, we will be focusing on the latter, and discussing, how people use food as a means to cope up with emotions and stress.

In simple words, emotional eating involves hunger that is driven by feelings rather than body signalling the brain that it requires food. So what causes one to let their emotions guide their eating habits? Anything like work stress, health issues, or relationship problems may cause you to become overwhelmed, and to cope up with your emotions, you resort to comfort foods to try and make you feel better. Foods that are high in fats, sugars, and salt are believed to trigger dopamine, the chemical responsible for pleasure, which is why you get a feeling of mental satiety, though it stays only temporarily.

More often than not, those who indulge in emotional eating end up feeling worse than before. Thoughts of having consumed unnecessary calories irk the brain, making you feel guilty, while the feeling of being stuffed by overeating might cause physical and emotional discomfort. Moreover, since emotional eating is hard to control, it often leads to overeating and subsequent weight gain, and overeating might even lower your self esteem and self image, making you feel sad or helpless.

Instead of allowing your emotions dominate, try to channelize your emotions in a more positive manner. Try discussing your problems with a counselor or even your family. Together, try to look for a solution to cope with your emotions. A popular way to channelize emotions positively is by mindful eating. It is a Buddhist concept, where you pay attention to every morsel, recognize your senses, and distinguish between physical and emotional hunger. This method allows you to delve into your mind space and understand your emotions better. One of the best ways to channelize your emotions positively is by finding a healthy distraction. Try going for a walk in the park, or call over your friends to get your mind off your stress.

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