Dealing With The Dangers of Emotional Eating
There a number of unhealthy habits that can develop over time if eating activities aren’t monitored closely. One very easy unhealthy habit to fall into is emotional eating.
This can go unnoticed because it’s not widely thought of as dangerous compared to life threatening habits such as illegal drug use, and many say they can simply “exercise more later,” but can eating habits really be a danger to you?
We’ll be exploring some of these that in the following article.
You Tend to Eat Unhealthy Food
Emotional eating usually hits very suddenly out of nowhere and seeks out specific cravings to be filled.
Often times these powerful cravings are for sugar and fat filled snacks because of the powerful rush that is experienced after consumption.
Seeking out comfort food or food that is connected with positive or nostalgic feelings has been common practice for all of recorded history.
Many snack foods (especially candy and baked goods) are associated with memories of fun times or loved ones.
Some children develop early obesity when they learn this type of self soothing.
The methods that are used to produce foods of these types typically contain high levels of salt, sugars, fats and preservative agents.
It is an Unhealthy Way to Cope with Emotions
Emotional eating is often used as a way to avoid dealing with complex emotions.
Not every trigger will be the same for each person, but these could include a range of emotions and feelings including anxiety, boredom, loneliness, disgust, sadness, and even joy.
The emotional danger is the continued neglect of the real reasons behind these emotions. A feeling of shame or guilt might follow binges.
This is especially true when the behavior is hidden from friends or family. If a person uses eating as a way to escape or distract them self emotionally, a vicious cycle can develop.
For example, a person who seeks food to cope with stress will create a paradox where weight-related health issues arise, and the chosen coping method is food.
There are Weight-Related Health Risks
Emotional overeating can cause devastating health problems. Beyond the difficulties surrounding obesity, these could include other health issues such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, anxiety, malnutrition, digestive problems, menstrual problems, and depression.
If you are overeating and appear to be experiencing any of these symptoms or health problems, emotional eating is likely to be a significant factor.
Most frightening of all, some of these diseases have dangerous side effects that could interfere with medical responder’s efforts to carry out life saving procedures.
Heart disease and diabetes can also weaken the organs and immune system, leaving you susceptible to infectious disease as well.
How to Find Your Triggers
Most people are well acquainted with the knowledge that overeating is unhealthy and can make you vulnerable to various complications, but where do you go to learn what causes lead to these habits?
This article will be looking at some of the factors that trigger emotional eating, and sharing some tips on how you can avoid these triggers.
Some foods trigger powerful cravings and memories that send a person into a state where they don’t consider what they are putting in their body.
Strong emotional, or cultural identification with specific foods can begin at an early age, so these habits can become very deeply embedded into an individual’s identity.
Marketing research companies spend billions of dollars learning how to connect the emotions of the consumer to their products, so thinking about the kinds of food you consider are very important.
One extremely effective tool that you can use to help you find out what is happening with your eating habits, is to begin keeping a journal.
As you write what kind of foods you eat, it’s also good to make a note of how you’re feeling at the time of the craving.
Strong emotions of any kind can affect how you chose to go about your eating habits during meal time, and it’s important to note that they can be both positive and negative emotions.
When a person is emotionally eating, it frees the mind of the burden of focusing on issues and allows for an escape.
It can also provide a pleasurable experience that allows the eater a feeling of being rewarded.
Studies have shown that food can light up the same areas of the brain that react in drug addiction, so that means that serious thought and planning must go into combating these habits.
Last, and certainly not least is your environment. This can cover a wide variety of variables such as who you are spending time with, where you are located, and what kinds of events are taking place.
Some people find public situations highly stressful, while some others may find alone time to be stressful.
Overeating often takes place when the subject is alone, but every case is different.
This is another reason why keeping a journal can be very helpful, because it enables and empowers you to take an honest look at your triggering factors.
Recording this information can expose a pattern and help you overcome the difficult habit of emotional eating.
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