Do you sometimes come home from a hard day at work and head straight for the ice cream? Have you ever been bored and found yourself snacking on potato chips without even thinking about it until the bag was empty? There are many reasons besides hunger that we eat. When those reasons involve stress, sadness, boredom, conflicts or fatigue, it's called emotional eating.
Emotional eating can wreck a healthy diet or a weight-loss plan. An article from the University of Maryland that's quoted on WebMD states that as much as 75% of overeating is caused by emotions. It's such a problem that researchers at the Temple University Center for Obesity Research are trying to figure out the answer as part of a weight-loss study being funded by the National Institutes of Health.
Your emotions can become so tied to your eating habits that, without even thinking about it, you may reach for a sweet treat when you're sad, angry or stressed. Or, you may use food to take your mind off a problem. That can start an unhealthy cycle in which your feelings trigger you to overeat, you feel bad about it, and feeling bad causes you to overeat again.
The good news is that you can take control of emotional eating. And here are seven tips that can help.
If these tips don't give you the help you need, think about getting therapy. It can help you understand the reasons behind your emotional eating and offer you new skills to deal with it. Therapy can also help you learn whether you may have an eating disorder, which is sometimes connected to emotional eating.
To learn more about how to control emotional eating, contact your healthcare provider.
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