Are Your Emotions Tied to Your Eating Habits?

Comfort eating and stress eating are things we often hear about (and maybe even do), but is it a real thing or just an excuse to eat more food?

When we feel sad or down about something, eating can often help us feel better. Grabbing a bag of our favorite treats, eating a large pizza with friends or snacking on some nibbles in bed can lift our spirits, but usually only temporarily. When you’ve finished eating bad foods, it’s rare not to feel sluggish, tired and even worse about yourself.

Why do some people participate in emotional eating?

For most of us, we’ve grown up with bad foods being used at treats. Nobody’s parents ever offered them carrots and apples when they got a great report at school or behaved well all day. Many children grow up associating good behavior and good times with junk food. On birthdays, we go out to a restaurant and celebrate with our friends, making unhealthy choices most of the time. We have birthday cakes full of sugar and don’t even feel bad about it, because after all, it’s our birthday! This habit that makes us associate junk food with happy occasions and feeling good is one of the main reasons why people eat emotionally.

Another reason why chocolate and sweet foods tend to be the ones we reach for first is because sugar is addictive and gives us temporary pleasure. While we’re eating sweet foods, we experience high levels of enjoyment, which is why we reach for the candy and sugary snacks when we’re sad.

How do you know whether or not your emotions are tied to your eating habits?

When you feel low, do you eat your favorite foods to feel better? If so, it’s very possible that your emotions are tied to your eating habits. Are you more likely to make healthier choices when you’re happy? This is another indication that your emotions are playing a big part in your diet. Food should provide healthy nutrition for our body, and shouldn’t be used as a tool to help us feel happier (especially if you’re binge eating or gorging on junk food).

How can you detach your emotions from your eating habits?

It’s difficult to do this, and detaching your emotions completely takes a lot of time and effort. One of the best things which will help you with this is to find other things that make you feel better when you’re down. Find a sport you enjoy, listen to some good music, and if you’re tempted to reach for the snacks, choose healthier options such as dried fruit, raw vegetables or low-calorie crackers and rice cakes.