Food addiction and emotional eating

Food and Health | Por Kelby Jongen

24 July 2014 0 Respuesta

A lot of people are struggling with emotional eating. An Internet survey of 17,000 failed dieters (almost 90 percent of whom were women) found that virtually all of them had relapsed because of emotional issues. "We often see clients who are committed to losing weight, but as soon as they get into a fight with their husband or have a bad day at work, they'll run to the fridge to eat snacks. 


Women are particularly susceptible because they're conditioned from childhood to suppress certain feelings, say experts: "Girls are often taught that it's bad to be sad, upset, or angry, so instead of vocalizing their emotions, they use food as a form of self-soothing." Another problem: When women need comfort, they don't turn to healthy bites. Research shows that the top foods overeaten by females are ice cream, chocolate, and cookies. "These sweets temporarily raise your level of serotonin [a feel-good hormone] and lower the level of cortisol [a stress hormone],"

How to break the cycle? First you have to pinpoint which feelings trigger overeating. To figure this out, create an "emotional eating record".  Take a three-by-five index card and write down four headings: TIME; LOCATION; FOOD; EMOTION OR THOUGHT. Put the card in your pocket so you can keep track of any unplanned snacks. After a few days, you'll be able to decipher which emotions and situations triggered eating binges.

"Most people fall into more than one category of emotional eating, indulging when they're happy as well as when they're stressed or depressed" . Although you'd assume that most overeating is prompted by negative emotions, the reverse seems to be true. A study with 1,000 people found that participants were most likely to turn to comfort foods when they were happy (86 percent) or when they wanted to reward themselves (74 percent), rather than when they were depressed (39 percent), bored (52 percent), or lonely (39 percent). 

So it’s not the food what we need to change but they way how we feel. So the solution is never a diet but to learn how to understand the body. 

See this figure for example:

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