Just got off the phone with a relative (two relatives, actually) and I want to pull my hair out. Did that ever happen to you? Without going into details I’m worried about the choices this person is making and it’s hard not being able to jump in and just fix another person’s life without their consent.
So after I hung up the first thing I wanted to do was drink a Diet Coke. I wanted to taste the fizzy sweetness and thought it would calm me down, which scientifically isn’t really even possible because it has caffeine in it.
The good news is that I did not drink it, but now I’m kind of wondering about emotional eating. Why do I want to eat when I’m stressed out?
Dr. Susan Albers, psychologist at the Cleveland Clinic Hospital and author of “50 Ways to Soothe Yourself Without Food,” “Eating Mindfully,” “Eat, Drink & Be Mindful and “Mindful Eating 101” answers my question thus:
“Why is Food so Comforting?
There are many reasons food can be so seductive in moments of stress.
- Biology. When you are stressed out, your body is flooded with cortisol, a stress hormone, which makes you crave carbohydrates, sugar and fatty foods. Food is soothing due to the chemical changes it creates in your body. Chocolate is an excellent example. Chocolate boosts the “feel good” neurotransmitters and chemicals in your body that make you more alert and excited.
- Tune Out. Eating can be distracting. It can take your attention away from whatever is bothering you emotionally.
- Beliefs. You may also be conditioned to believe eating can ease pain. Many media ads push the therapeutic value of food. For example, a commercial may urge you to buy a particular candy because it will bring you “bliss” or “happiness.”
- Convenience. We enjoy things that are easy and convenient. Vending machines and fast food restaurants are always close at hand when you are fretting.
- Entertainment. It is difficult for many of us to deal with boredom and anxiety. Preparing food and eating it can be entertaining and fills gaps in time.
- Good Vibes. Emotional eating may be linked to your childhood. Perhaps home baked cookies or macaroni and cheese automatically trigger positive or comforting memories from the past.”
Thanks for the info, Dr. Albers! Here is the link to her article: Emotional Eating. So now I just have to figure out what to do instead of eating crap. Another post for another time.
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