Cures for Emotional Eating

By Tess Thompson



Positive emotions generally create a feeling of well-being. Negative emotions, on the other hand, can cause a large amount of psychological and physiological damage.

An effect of negative emotions that has been in the news for some time now is emotional eating. It is not unusual to see people eating more than what they normally would when they are under some sort of emotional distress. This distress could have been caused by trauma, anxiety, sadness, anger, loneliness, relationship problems, or depression. In fact, an eating disorder is one of the most obvious symptoms of emotional disorders like depression and bipolar disorder.

Emotional eating occurs when your emotions determine your eating habits rather than the stomach. When you indulge in emotional eating, it is liable to add to your troubles and your weight.

Emotional eating basically means that you end up eating without feeling hungry. Individuals indulge in such behavior to try and comfort themselves, and turn to food since it is readily available. Trying to achieve freedom from such impulse eating is similar to breaking free from a drug addiction - you have to make a concerted effort to give up the habit.

One of the first steps that you must take to overcome emotional eating is to try and differentiate between eating when hungry and eating for comfort. Learn to recognize your hunger and distinguish whether you are eating based on the requirement of your head or your stomach. Eat only when you feel hungry.

Do not eat as a pastime to conquer boredom. Don't make picking on snacks and candies a habit, either. Remember, you are supposed to 'eat to live' and not 'live to eat'. If boredom is something you are combating, use other means of fighting the situation. Go out for a walk, call a friend, or simply pick up the tools and finish that repair job that you have been procrastinating on completing.

The next time you feel the urge to eat between meals, pick up healthy foods like an apple, yogurt, or a handful of baby carrots. If you don't resort to indulgent comfort foods for some time, you will find that your urge for such foods diminishes over time.

Exercise promotes emotional wellness, and although you may feel like eating after a good workout, you should ensure that you choose healthy foods. Going to the gym will make you more aware of your body, and you may find yourself reaching out for health foods voluntarily.

Lack of sleep can lead to decreased levels of leptin, the protein hormone responsible for energy intake and expenditure that includes regulation of appetite by signaling fullness. Ensure that you get adequate rest every day.

If none of these work and you are unable to maintain your efforts, there might be an express need to improve your emotional health. Visit a counselor or a psychologist to try and unearth the cause of your binge eating, and explore remedies that are available to cure them.

References:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/22127030/
http://stress.about.com/od/unhealthybehaviors/a/eating.htm
http://www.anred.com/causes.html

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