You might have eaten a big bag of chips while watching a movie or stuffed yourself with cookies while cramming for an important presentation or exam. You might have also finished a large piece of chocolate cake or pint of Rocky Road ice cream, just to vent your feelings over a stupid fight. You usually turn to food to make your negative feelings evaporate into the air.
When you normally use food to deal with your feelings instead of satisfying your hunger, you may suffer from emotional eating. Doing this often without realizing it can negatively affect your health, your weight, as well as your overall well-being. It is important to understand the main drivers of emotional eating to address the problem.
Both Negative and Positive Feelings
Binge eating and other eating disorder treatment centers note that one of the biggest misconceptions about emotional eating is that only negative feelings prompt it. While it is common for people to eat more when they are lonely, anxious, stressed, out or bored, emotional eating is also associated with happy feelings like the celebration of holidays or the romance of the Valentine’s season.
Satisfying Emotional Hunger
Using eating as the main coping mechanism when you’re feeling down produces unhealthy results, which will never address the main problem. This is because you cannot solve or satisfy emotional hunger with food. The sad part is, you may feel worse afterward because of the extra calories you consume. If you continue to do this, you may eventually feel powerless over food and your emotions.
The Devious Cycle
When your habit turns uncontrollable, you may develop the binge-eating disorder. With this condition, you may feel that binge eating is comforting at first, but then, it may produce feelings of regret and self-loathing. Both binge and emotional eating result in weight gain, which can only reinforce more compulsive eating. The worst part is, the worse you feel about yourself and your appearance, the more you will turn to food to deal with your feelings.
If you or your loved one show behavioral signs of binge or emotional eating such as the inability to control eating or rapidly eating large amounts of food, it is important to get help. A professional assessment from an eating disorder help center can help address the issue.