EMOTIONAL EATING AND WEIGHT: NEW SERIES

Keeping a healthy weight — and especially losing weight —  is not easy for many reasons.  For one, easy access to extremely tasty high-calorie foods pushes many to overeat.  Living with stress — a common source of negative emotions — also makes it difficult to keep healthy habits.  In fact, according to www.webmd.com, up to 75% of overeating is driven by emotions.

Stress in particular has the power to push people toward overeating and other unhealthy behaviors.  Research shows that stress forces people — particularly those who usually restrain their eating — to eat more and to choose high-fat foods over healthier ones.  The high-calorie foods serve as self-medication, producing a relief from negative emotions.

Of course, the relief is only temporary — the effect of chocolate, for example, disappears after only three minutes, according to studies.  However, because the food or beverage reduces a negative emotion, even temporarily, we tend to turn to it again next time we experience the same emotion.Not all food works, though.  When sad, disappointed, irritable or anxious, we don’t crave carrots or celery.  Instead we turn to ice cream, chips, cookies or chocolate.  Research shows the palatability of these foods may affect brain chemistry.  Yet, food only numbs the feelings — without resolving underlying causes.  And, by adding inches to our waistlines, we also pile guilt onto the mix.Shared from “Healthy Living – Patient Information from the ACA”…………………………….Watch for our next installment:   Become Aware of Your Habits