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What exactly is emotional eating and how do you stop it

Featured Emotional eating Emotional eating

Tell us if this sounds familiar. You had a really intense fight with your significant other or a crappy day at work and you find yourself rushing to the refrigerator for some comfort food.

If so, you are not alone. Infact, it is not uncommon to indulge in stress eating or emotional eating when you feel a little bummed out and upset.

A lot of people believe that emotional eating is actually a matter of discipline and self-control, which could not be farther from the truth. But what if we told you that there are several factors (in addition to stress) that play a crucial role in deciding what you eat and how much you eat.

What is emotional eating

If you reach out for food--particularly junk food--when you are feeling incredibly low, it is your body’s physiological and psychological reaction to stress. People, more often than not, use food as a coping mechanism to distract themselves from whatever they are battling internally.

According to various reports, women are more prone to emotional eating when compared to men. While some may consciously indulge in a big bar of their favourite chocolate at the end of a long, hard day, some reach out for junk food without even realising.

Uncontrolled stress eating can actually lead to long term complications including weight gain, feeling guilty about eating and poor coping mechanism.

How to stop emotional eating

Before buying that bag of chips the next time you feel angry, sad or upset, take a pause and analyze what you are feeling. The first thing you can do is opt for a healthy distraction like venting to a friend, reading your favourite book or going out for some fresh air.

If you are prone to emotional eating, another alternative can be eating at a regular interval of time so that you do not go without food for a longer duration of time. You can also carry a bottle of water with you to fight the untimely hunger pangs and urges.

The bottom line

The most important thing is to pay attention to your feelings and think them through. Additionally, it is also advisable to get plenty of rest, eat well and take care of yourself. You should also find ways to cope with day-to-day stress effectively and figure out what works the best for you.

From meditation, maintaining a food diary to shunning distractions, you must find an effective, long-term approach to combat emotional eating.

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