(“I need a bit of chocolate first….”)
When you react to stress and pressure by indulging in comfort eating, it can affect you in different ways. You might notice some of the effects right away, while others could take a little longer to come to your attention. Here are the three ways that emotional eating affects the various parts of your life.
What Emotional Eating Does to You Emotionally
Turning to food for comfort affects your emotions. It’s kind of a catch-22 situation. You want to turn to the food because you’re feeling down. So you head to the pantry and grab a bag of chips or pick up a pack of cookies.
The emotions that you were feeling before you started eating begin to lighten as you eat. The act of eating works to suppress the feelings, since it activates the brain’s reward center.
Soon, you feel a lot better. You might feel happy and the emotions that you had before you started eating seem to have disappeared altogether. Sometimes, people aren’t aware that they’re emotional eating.
They only know they feel a strong pull to eat whenever they feel something they don’t like or don’t want to deal with. They eat, they feel better – so they turn to food again – not realizing that they’re setting themselves up for a dangerous habit.
Those chips and cookies you’re eating do a great job of masking the emotions while you’re in the act of consuming them. But this is only a temporary measure. The minute the food is gone, the feelings will all come rushing back.
“There I go again…”
These emotions always return, but they don’t come alone. You’ll still feel what you felt before you started eating but now, you have added emotions. The overeating of calories can cause you to feel guilty.
You’re feeling this emotion because when you eat like this, you feel like you’ve done something wrong. Emotional eating causes you to associate feeling better at first, but then immediately afterward, the guilt is ushered in.
You begin to berate yourself. You question how you could have eaten what you just did – maybe an entire carton of ice cream or multiple servings of pasta. You inwardly scold yourself for not having more willpower.
And you begin overanalyzing every fault you can find with your body, so that you can fortify the shame you’re feeling. While it might seem that going over the emotional eating in your mind and calling yourself out will help you do better or try harder, it doesn’t.
All it does is make you feel worse. When you turn to food, it’s because you’re not listening to your true emotions. You’re not tuning in to what’s really going on with yourself.
If you continue to engage in emotional eating and then battle guilt, you can start to feel a sense of disgust with yourself. This can turn into self-loathing and you’ll begin beating yourself up and saying to yourself that you’re fat or stupid or using all sorts of negative words.
What Emotional Eating Does to You Mentally
You might have a mental image of what an addiction looks like. It’s that guy who can’t say no to drugs. Or it’s the person who starts drinking first thing in the morning and never quits throughout the day.
Maybe you never considered that you could have an addiction. Especially not when it comes to food. You have to have food to live. It’s not like you can do without it. This kind of thinking is why so many people struggle to realize that emotional eating can be an addiction.
People who have this kind of addiction go through the same stages that someone with a drug or alcohol addiction do. When you turn to food because you want to feed your emotions, you’ll eat and you will feel better.
But that’s because of what’s going on inside your brain. The minute that you start eating, your brain gets to work releasing feel good chemicals. As you eat, you get a boost of endorphins.
These endorphins create the same effect in your brain that taking an opiate would. Endorphins are natural opiates, but the outcome is still the same. You feel so good and so relieved that you look forward to getting it again.
“I love that sugar rush…”
Emotional eating might not seem like it, but just like drugs, there can be a dark side. It can lead to addictive mental dependence. You might find yourself thinking about food more often than you should.
Whenever something happens that upsets you, you immediately get hit with a craving. You might feel upset and even a little edgy because you just have to get to some food.
You’ve become addicted to the natural opiate your brain delivers.
Because of that, you start to crave it just like you would drugs or alcohol. Just like an addict, when you can’t have the food you want or don’t get to turn to it, your emotions can get worse.
You might even have trouble handling your anger until you get the food you crave.
Emotional eating causes a dependence on getting that endorphin high because it’s an addictive cycle.
You’ll find that your automatic go-to response is always food first. You’ll feel this because you crave endorphins over cortisol. This is why emotional eating is often not something that you can simply “get over” or wish away.
Just like any other addiction, it has to be dealt with the right way so that you can break the control it has over your life.
What Emotional Eating Does to You Physically
Emotional eating can definitely affect your emotions, and this can not only affect you physically, but it can cause the caloric intake to take a toll on your body. When you’re emotionally eating, it’s to try to quell an emotion.
You can get tunnel vision, where all you see is that you feel bad and you want to feel better. You’re not even completely aware of how much you’re eating. So there can be a tendency to overeat.
This can be caused by a signal your body gets when you’re feeling emotional. Your brain reminds you that when you eat, you feel better. It releases cortisol and the next thing you know, all you can think about is junk food.
But there’s a price to pay for emotional eating. When you do this, you can end up gaining weight and developing serious health issues. You can feel stress from the emotion itself and again after you turn to food.
You feel stressed that you ate again or that you overate in one sitting. You can develop a slower metabolism that’s caused by this stress. This slower metabolism holds onto weight, so you tend to gain even more easily than you normally would.
In addition to the ease of gaining weight, you’ll find that your body is holding onto to more fat – and this fat can be stored in your abdominal area. This area can be harder to lose in, plus increase your risk of other health problems.
When you gain weight, you can end up developing diabetes. Emotional eating is a big cause of elevated glucose levels because of the types of food people choose when trying to mask their emotions.
“A moment on the lips…”
These foods are often high in carbs, sugar, fats and other ingredients that are known to cause problems. The emotional eating is causing you to consume more calories than your body can handle.
You can also develop backaches from emotional eating. This can be directly linked to weight gain. When you gain weight, you can gain it in your stomach, thighs, arms, legs, chest and more.
The extra weight can pull on your back because it changes your center of gravity. You walk and move differently because of the weight gain and your muscles have to work with a heavier strain.
Joint pain is common with emotional eating. You’ll gain weight and that weight impacts your knees, ankles, hips and more. This is due to an increase of pressure on the joints. For every pound that you gain, you add additional pressure to your joints.
They simply weren’t made to handle excess weight, especially as time goes on. This is why people who are overweight can develop trouble walking. The emotional eating can also cause health problems like fatigue.
This is because it takes more energy for your body to work when it has to carry extra weight. It can also make your heart work harder and lead to issues such as sleep apnea.
Take the Next Step to Getting Free From Emotional Eating
If this short article has touched a raw nerve and you want to finally break free from the cycle of comfort eating, then I urge you to pick up this powerful guide: “Breaking the Chains of Emotional Eating“ by Mary A Karpinski.
- How Emotional Eating Begins
- What Emotional Eating Does to You
- It’s Never About the Food
- Common Causes of Emotional Eating
- Why You Keep Turning to Food for Help
- Recognizing the Signs of Emotional Eating
- Things You Can Do to Help Yourself
- When You Can’t Stop on Your Own
- Dealing with Setbacks
- Building a New Relationship with Food
- Start Right NOW and Take Action!
This book was definitely written for with you in mind. You owe it to yourself to get a copy while it stays at this low, low price.
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