How to Effectively Deal With Emotional Eating

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Learn how to manage stress eating to lose weight

If you don't know how to deal with emotional eating, your diet may fail. Emotional eating, also called stress eating, can sabotage your best weight loss efforts. But if you can learn to manage stress eating, you'll set yourself up for both short term weight loss and a life of healthier eating habits. Getting a handle on your tendency to eat in response to emotions can be one of the most important factors in getting the body you deserve.

Are You an Emotional Eater?

Sometimes, the desire to eat has nothing to do with a pesky rumbling in your stomach telling you that you need to eat. Occasionally, you might get a strong craving for certain foods, such as fattening, comfort foods. You might also happen that these cravings occur during times when you are also experiencing strong emotions.

There are certain signs that can help you identify stress eating But if you find that you eat when you are anxious, sad, depressed or worried, it's likely that you are an emotional eater. It is at times like these that you are also more likely to overeat or mindlessly overconsume calories.

Why Emotional Hunger Happens

For some people, a major life event or change may trigger emotional eating. For example, if you get fired or are going through a divorce, you may start to eat to calm stress. But for others, this eating style is a constant struggle. It becomes a habit that you adopt in traffic on the way to work, when you're anxious on the job, or when you've had a tough day at the office. Your simple daily grind can lead to a seemingly unbreakable habit of turning to food to make it all better.

There are also more serious reasons that emotional eating might develop. For example, overeating can become a way of dealing with childhood trauma or abuse. In these cases, your best approach is to contact a behavioral expert, such as a social worker or psychologist, who specializes in the treatment of eating disorders or childhood abuse.

So what happens if you don't address emotional eating? The worst part about stress eating is that it causes your problems to multiply. Eventually, instead of avoiding the issues you're stuffing down with food, you've created another one altogether, including weight gain, guilt about eating, or worsening health. Then the stress—and the eating cycle—starts all over again.





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