Here’s Why Emotional Eating Is A Hindrance To Weight Loss

Dietary and nutritional content reviewed by Jasmin Gorostiza, DT, DM, DSS, CFPP.️

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Understanding the reasons behind emotional eating may help you manage your weight issues.

Everybody is guilty of it. If emotional eating were a serious crime, everybody would be in jail. Surely, you have turned to food for some sort of comfort, right?

Emotional eating may not be a serious crime but if you are not careful, it can endanger your health. However it’s hard not to eat emotionally. Food is so accessible that it becomes a part of your life.

When you’re sad, you eat. When you’re happy, you eat. When you bored, you eat. Oh, yes! When you’re hungry, you eat as well. That just shows how much you are capable of eating too much when in fact you should only be eating when you’re hungry.

When you’re sad, you eat. When you’re happy, you eat. When you bored, you eat. Oh, yes! When you’re hungry, you eat as well. That just shows how much you are capable of eating too much when in fact you should only be eating when you’re hungry.

It’s a must to eat when you’re hungry. However, it’s not when you’re just sad, happy, or simply bored.  You are bound to gain a lot of weight if you don’t stop emotional eating. Related read: Why men are losing weight on Nutrisystem

It’s hard to gauge the percentage of American adults who eat emotionally. What is safe to say is that there’s an alarming number of them considering that 36% of them are obese. This is according to the website, npr.org.

You can exercise all you want and diet all you want. Unfortunately, if you don’t understand emotional eating, you are never going to lose some weight.

Emotional Eating Explained

Emotional eating is often portrayed as something women do when they’re heartbroken. After their break up; they sit on the couch, cry their head off, and eat a gallon of ice cream. That is such a common and almost comical portrayal of emotional eating.

Sad to say, emotional eating isn’t that funny. It’s a very serious thing and it’s actually scientifically proven that humans really have the natural tendency to eat emotionally.

Sad to say, emotional eating isn’t that funny. It’s a very serious thing and it’s actually scientifically proven that humans really have the natural tendency to eat emotionally. Related read: Eat with discipline now with frozen foods from Nutrisystem

This video features Dr. Tara Narula and she shares the science behind emotional eating. What she has to say is really quite interesting.

They looked at 51 young healthy men and they broke them into two groups. Twenty-nine of which were subjected to stress. They had to place their hand in a bucket of ice water for about three minutes while they were video taped. They then took both groups of men and showed them a series of images comparing two foods; one that was unhealthy but tasty option like a cookie and one that was a healthy but less tasty option like broccoli. They had to pick between these two and at the end they’d be rewarded with one of the options they had chosen. During this time, they also scanned their brains with functional MRIs, to look at what floated at the different parts of the brain. They checked their stress hormone levels and asked them about their level of stress. That was the basis of the study.

Dr. Narula goes on to share the interesting findings of the study.

Fascinatingly what they found was that the men who had been under stress actually chose the more unhealthy or tasty option; the short-term reward.

Based on the study, emotional eating is directly linked to stress. That’s not good because stress is inevitable. You can try to do away with the emotional drama of your everyday life but stress is everywhere. You can’t avoid that.

So is that why losing weight is so hard for most folks? Dr. Narula explains why.

When they looked at the MRIs, they found …changes in the brain circuitry and so what they saw was the more primitive areas of the brain, the amygdala …that control emotion, motivation, reward, pleasure, were heightened, were amplified and the parts of the brain that control goals and long term goals and planning were sort of decreased or diminished and so there was an imbalance there in the signaling in the brain.

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What This Means

It’s not just about saying no. Based on the study, the brain goes through a lot of changes when you’re stressed out. Too much stress actually causes some imbalance in the brain that can hinder you from making the right food choices.

This is a very important thing to look at because it proves that it takes more than just will power to lose weight. You can’t keep on struggling to say no to unhealthy food choices when your brain is telling you otherwise. That’s just going to drive you nuts. Related read: Reviews on Nutrisystem Reveal Important Facts on This Diet

According to Dr. Narula:

We talk about will power and self control as if it’s almost something very simple. You know, just top eating. Have more self-control. This really tells us there’s a lot more biologically there that maybe playing into it and that it’s not just an on and off switch but there are multiple neural pathways that are at work and any change in any part of that pathway could off set your ability to have optimal self control.

Now that makes a lot of sense. That actually explains why it’s very hard to eat healthy even if you want to do it. It’s really not just a matter of making healthy choices.

It’s also about recognizing other factors that could possibly hinder your weight loss.  An important factor to recognize is stress, not just emotional eating but stress.

Beat Emotional Eating

Yes, you can beat emotional eating. First of all, you need to recognize the factors that stress you out.  When the stress level is way too high that you are tempted to eat emotionally, take it easy. Stop and chill.

In most cases, you simply can’t do away with the stress. Stress, after all is not just inevitable; it’s everywhere. For example, it’s impossible to eradicate stress in the workplace. It really wouldn’t be a workplace if it weren’t stressful at all. Related read: Get a Discount with a Nutrisystem Promo Code

Again, recognize that you are in a stressful environment. When you do that, you can prep yourself to eat better. Here’s what Dr. Narula has to say:

There’s a couple of things you can do; remove the temptations. So if you’re in an office where you get stressed, don’t keep the doughnuts around. Use other coping mechanism that are healthier like exercise, social support, meditation …

You can also beat emotional eating by choosing a meal replacement service like Nutrisystem. If you can’t help munching on something, at least replace the food that you usually munch on with healthier options. This is one option worth looking into if you really want to beat emotional eating and lose weight.

Weight loss will always be a struggle if you don’t recognize the root of your emotional eating and you don’t do something about it.

Disclosure: Compensated Affiliate

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3 thoughts on “Here’s Why Emotional Eating Is A Hindrance To Weight Loss

  1. Stress can really mess up a diet. When you’re stressed, you can’t even think clearly. If that’s something you can’t do, there’s just no way you can even decide to eat the right kind of food. Unless, of course, you have a diet that’s specially prepared for you. If you don’t, then you’re going to end up eating anything.

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  2. I would look into healthier food alternatives and exercise to cope with emotional eating. Let’s be realistic; it’s hard to beat emotional eating. So instead of beating it, it’s a lot better to cope with it. For me, a good way to cope with it is through healthy food alternatives and exercise. If I have to stop emotional eating, I’m pretty sure I will end up overeating at some point. Hence, I feel safer coping with it.:)

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  3. It’s hard to avoid emotional eating. In my opinion, I think it’s inevitable. That’s what makes it so hard. It’s a lot better to focus on healthier foods rather than the emotional aspect of eating. Of course, that’s just my opinion.

    Reply

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