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Stress eating doesn’t usually take away stress and often adds pounds.
Emotional eating happens to most of us, especially when we’re stressed or going through something tense.
Maybe you’ve cheered yourself up with a bowl of ice cream after an unusually tough day or snuck in some extra chocolate while you were venting to friend. But when emotional eating is the first and most frequent response to negative thoughts and feelings – it’s time to get a grip.
What is stress eating?
Stress eating – or emotional eating – is pretty much what it sounds like. It’s when you eat in order to escape whatever bad feelings you’re experiencing. You hope the food will make you feel better. Sometimes it’s a conscious decision:
“My boss really ticked me off today… I’m going to get a pizza delivered.”
But more often it’s just a mindless response to a vague, negative emotion that you can’t quite put your finger on. You may not know what’s bothering you, but you’re pretty sure that food is the one thing that will cure whatever ails you.
Is it emotional or physical hunger?
There are few telltale signs that can help you distinguish emotional hunger or stress eating from true, physical hunger.
Tips for Dealing with Stress Eating Behaviors
Be kind to yourself and give yourself time to work on your stress eating. If you find that these tactics aren’t working for you, ask your health care provider if counseling or group support might be helpful for you.