Unexpected changes at work, going out for dinner, dining at a buffet ? all can trigger urges to overeat. Mood, however, also can trigger overeating. For some people, eating may be a way of suppressing or soothing negative emotions, such as stress, anger, anxiety, boredom, sadness and loneliness. These negative states can be caused by everything from major life events to simple day-to-day hassles. Though the "comfort foods" turned to in times of trouble might provide short-term fixes, they can lead to an unhealthy long-term habit of eating in response to negative feelings, not hunger.
Emotional eaters don't necessarily eat more foods, they eat more unhealthy foods, such as starchy, sweet, salty and fatty foods. Consequently, if stress or negative emotions are chronic, emotional eating can cause health problems such as weight gain and increased cardiovascular risk.
The good news is that if you're prone to emotional eating, you can regain control of your eating habits. By understanding the reasons why stress and negative emotions may cause you to crave those unhealthy snacks, and how you can avoid indulging your cravings, you're well on your way to avoiding a dietary disaster.
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