Most folks at some point will turn to food when stressed to the gills, they will use food to soothe their feelings. Stress, or emotional eating is so common that many people believe they can not avoid falling into that trap. They consider finding comfort in food to be the natural order of things to do when the going gets tough in life. A red flag that you are eating your emotions is when you eat in response to a mood rather than when you are actually hungry.
There really is nothing inherently wrong with an ocasional snack when you are stressed, as long as you make it a healthy choice over some sugar laden junk from out of a vending machine, and only if you are capable of keeping your snacking under control. Life might seem to be less stressful when snarfing down a bowl of ice cream, chips and dip, etc. however, we will never be truly satiated, nor will our minds be soothed with junk foods. If you can control your snacks, that is great. But, you know there is a problem you need to address when your appetite is driven by emotions that drive you to compulsive eating, obesity, malutrition and other health issues.
Anxiety, worries. tension, upset feelings, stress and fear are common causes of stress eating. Food becomes like a drug, a sedative or tranquilizer that temporarily calms the nerves. You might be anxious over the prospect of having to give a presentation or when facing other tough situations in life. You might find youself in situations of self doubt, convincing yourself that you can not accomplish that which may be difficult. In either case, the result may boil down to you feeding your face with some type of comfort foods. This type of eating is usually a learned behavior emanting from childhood. Such as during your formative years every time you were upset, your mother may have fed you cookies or ice cream to calm you down. A lot of folks are taught to reach for food during their childhood years and therefore will continue this unhealthy learned behavior into adulthood where sadly it is likely they will pass it on to children of their own. It is a cycle which truthfully needs to be stopped early on.
In life, the bigger the demands, the tighter the deadlines, the more likely it is you might stress eat. Women are more vulnerable to this than are men Researchers at University of Michigan in Dearborn sat women and men at tables loaded with munchies, and had them watch either a bland film about travel or a high-anxiety film about gruesome accidents on the job. The women who watched the gory film ate twice as many cookies, candies and crackers as the people who watched the travel film, while the men who watched the gory fim actually ate less. They surmised this food-mood link might be reinforced because eating raises levels of endorphins and serotonin, which in turn calms us down.
When we are bored or lonesome, we are more prone to eat comfort foods in order to fill the void. Yet when we are involved in interesting activities, we are much less likely to feed our faces. While preventing boredom and developing meaningful relationships take time and effort,chowing down is realtively easy and effortless.. Unfortunately, it is a quick fix that only adds to the problem in the long run. Boredom, anxiety, anger, depression, jealousy and other emotions are a normal pat of life. but using food to treat them or to avoid resolving them is not a long term solution for feeling better. It is when we learn to manage our lifes difficulties head on that we are truly able to have a better relationship with food.