Is emotional eating bad? It is really effective at making you feel better and let’s be honest, people do far more harmful and self-destructive things when they are down. Emotional eating is cheap, fast, and legal.
Article by Bella Trost
There are many healthier ways to deal with the blues like having a spa day, getting a massage, taking a bath, a yoga class, or a holiday. Yet these may not be options if you’re short on money and/or time. Having a delicious chocolate bar or a bag of chips is fast, easy and affordable. So why is emotional eating bad? Because it is so easy to overdo it.
The problem with eating for comfort is it can become a mechanism for dealing with negative emotions. Every time you feel down you go back to food to make yourself feel better. It is not a winning scenario when you struggle with weight gain which causes negative emotions. The short term solution starts to cause bigger problems.
Eating something delicious is fine. If you really enjoy it and it makes you happy, there’s nothing wrong with that. But make sure that is the case. Having some ice cream and feeling guilty is not fine. Having a brownie, enjoying it but then feeling bad about it for the rest of the day is not okay either.
I know, I’ve been there. I competed in fitness which meant giving up many foods and restricting my calorie intake for months. When I was done with a competition, I deserved to relax a bit and eat basically anything I wanted guilt-free. I enjoyed it, it gave me pleasure. However, I would reach a point when food didn’t feel or didn’t taste good anymore. I ate because I was “allowed” to – I didn’t have to look stage-perfect. But seeing myself putting on too much weight too fast, feeling constantly bloated or coming down after every sugar rush just didn’t feel right.
So instead of constantly treating myself with no control, I resolved to be more aware of what I was eating and why. I noticed that 80 percent of the time I was having snacks just because I could, not because I wanted or needed to eat and they didn’t give me true pleasure or make me feel better. Actually they made me feel worse after a while. So I skipped that 80 percent and surprisingly it wasn’t hard. I simply paid attention to what I was doing- and doing something that didn’t make me feel good or happy didn’t make sense. Realizing that restored balance probably for the rest of my life.
I do sometimes have delicious meals and treats that are not the most nutritious or bikini body friendly. A slice of chocolate cake might not serve my physical health but when I eat it I really enjoy it and I know I don’t need it all the time. Being aware of when eating serves my well-being and what makes me happy is liberating. It is worth the time and effort to develop that self awareness and appreciation for food.