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Tuesday, October 9, 2007

The Role Emotions Play in Eating

October 9, 2007

Have you heard about comfort food? That's what we sometimes do. Turn to food for comfort. Often, what we eat and how much we eat depend on how we feel. We eat to soothe the pain we feel whether it's physical or emotional hurt.

And the bad thing is turning to food does not really completely heal us. Whatever we're feeling is just temporarily covered up and because it's temporary, we do it again and again until it becomes a habit. We cope with the pain by eating.

We also use food as a reward, don't we? Had a bad day in the office? Well, just have a good meal to forget the hurt. We have to reward ourselves somehow. What could be better than having a special meal? We need this treat after a long hard day at work. Not!

Some of us may have too much time and so we get bored. And what do we do to cope with this monotonous life? Food, there's always food. The thrill of eating something new will make life more interesting. We take a break from the tediousness of responsibilities and there is food.

They say that angry people eat food that is harder to chew. Sad and depressed people turn to comfort foods. These bring back happy memories of a carefree childhood. Feeling stressed? Have cookies and milk, the way mother used to give us after school.

We have just dealt with the bad feelings. How about the good ones like Christmas and Thanksgiving dinners? That's when we eat the most, almost like eating ourselves to death. We get so uncomfortably full, all we can do is drop on a couch and take a nap.

So you see both good and bad emotions can lead us to overeating. Is there something we can do to fight this? Of course, there are things we can do. Every challenge comes with a solution. And of course we will try our best to be part of any solution.

We'll write about our feelings. We'll a journal or blog about it like what I'm doing now. This way we're putting them out in the open instead of covering them up with food. If you don't like writing, talk about it with a friend or a family member you trust.

Make a list of how you can reward yourself with other things instead of just food. Reward yourself by going to the library where you can read a magazine or a book or surf the net. Take a hot bath or go for a swim. Take a walk or go ride a bike or fly a kite. The list is endless.

Do you have a counselor or a therapist? Talk to this person about your feelings. Maybe both of you can come up with other options to do when you're sad and lonely. Or call a long-lost friend long distance. If you're worried about the cost, get yourself a Yak account that will cost you pennies for long distance calls. Whatever it is, just do something instead of eat.

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