Friday, February 17, 2012

Are You An Emotional Eater?

The theory behind weight management is simple: Eat well and move often. But just because the concept is simple doesn't mean it's easy. Finding time to exercise can be difficult, but for many of us, maintaining a healthy diet is the toughest part of the equation.

Today, Americans are heavier than ever before – in part because we eat when we’re not hungry. We eat to reward ourselves, celebrate occasions, and entertain others, often allowing food to become the center of social activity. Food can also calm nerves and provide comfort. Some turn to food to numb themselves from emotional pain, hoping food will stifle anger, rejection, or depression.

Emotional eating refers to the act of eating a large quantity of food in response to feelings instead of hunger. These foods are often "comfort" or “junk” foods. Emotional eaters often blame themselves for their lack of willpower, but it’s really a lack of self-awareness that's to blame. Most emotional eaters are not aware of what it is that drives them to eat so much – they don’t know their “trigger”.

Do any of these sound familiar?

• Have you ever had a bad day at the office and beelined home to see what’s in the fridge?
• Does chocolate calm you during stressful moments?
• Do you get the urge to eat when you are annoyed or mad (at yourself or someone else)?
• Have you ever been so disappointed or sad that you reach for the pint of ice cream in the freezer?
• When you're on a deadline, does snacking on chips or salty food ease stress?

Some emotional eating is normal, but it becomes a problem when it has an impact on emotional and physical well-being or when it is used as the primary strategy for mood regulation.

Do you struggle with emotional eating? Check out this site for tips to curb the habit!

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