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Underlying issues that lead to emotional eating

The most important thing for anyone to do if they want to stop emotional eating is to figure out why they’re doing it in the first place.

The problem is in the name itself: emotional eating suggests that, for whatever reason, we’re using food to overcome some sort of emotional problem.

These are some of the most common issues that can lead you to develop a problem with emotional eating.

1. Anxiety If you struggle with day-to-day anxiety, you might use food as an escape. Certain foods, especially fat-heavy or carb-rich foods, can temporarily reduce anxiety (although anything laden with sugar tends to make it worse in the long-run!)

2. Stress Stress eating is its own category of emotional eating and it’s fairly common. Many people are prone to overeating if they’ve had a hard day at work or if they’re otherwise facing stressful situations.

3. Depression If you like to nuzzle up with a blanket, a movie, and an entire tub of ice cream, you might just enjoy creature comforts - or you might be depressed.

4. Worries Worries about life situations can trigger emotional eating. This might mean financial worries, relationship issues, family problems - anything that takes up your mind and warrants a distraction in the form of food.

Stress & Emotional Eating

Out of all these issues, stress is the best-understood because of the way it affects the hormone cortisol. Cortisol is sometimes known as “the stress hormone” because it’s released in times of stress and - guess what? - it also tends to increase appetite.

This is because cortisol also triggers the ‘fight-or-flight’ response, which is what we experience when we are threatened. The cravings for high-energy, sugary, or fatty foods is the body expressing a need for fuel that it can use if you need to run away from a threat.

This also explains why women are more likely to have a problem with emotional eating since they naturally have higher levels of cortisol.

Learning to manage cortisol spikes can help to reduce emotional eating.

What can I do about it?

Emotional eating is a challenging problem, and unfortunately, one that is quite common.

Understanding the reasons for your emotional eating is the first step towards overcoming the problem.

Once you know what the underlying issues are, you can work to treat them and your emotional eating will naturally resolve itself.

Sometimes we don't even realise what our underlying issues are. Never be afraid to reach out in the support group, there are so many others suffering just like you. Talking it through is a great first step.


Top tips? ❤️

Have you got any extra top tips that you have found helpful? Share your secrets below and let's all help each other!

Or just drop me a comment and let me know what you thought of this.

Rosie ❤️


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