Emotional Eating: The Trials of Teenage Life
Emotional eating is a widespread problem, especially among teenagers. This kind of eating stems from emotion and not from actual hunger. It can happen in many different situations, anything from boredom to nerves, heartbreak to happiness. Emotional eating is often associated with ice cream, cookies, and chips, but can happen with any food, at any time, to anyone.
I know all about this because last summer my boyfriend went off to college and I was left by myself. I was lonely and bored so I sat at home eating anything I could get my hands on. I started the highly unhealthy cycle of emotional eating.
Sometimes this type of eating is called "feeding your feelings." Instead of gradually becoming hungry, emotional cravings tend to come on strong and fast. Eating this way can become a habit and cause rapid weight gain.
Emotional eating is a hard habit to break because people are constantly overwhelmed by emotions. Situations of loneliness or heartbreak can cause both women and men to turn to food as a temporary, instant fix, for their feelings. However, this can also happen when someone is nervous or bored. People may eat because they simply have nothing better to do. This is a habit that needs to be identified and admitted so that steps can be taken to cure this emotional addiction.
Once I realized the problem I was having with emotional eating, I decided to take immediate steps to get myself happy, and healthy, again. One thing I had to realize is that my boyfriend would not want me to be this way, drowning my sorrows in a carton of Ben and Jerry’s. I started to go outside for walks and read books more often. I also began to rid my house of unhealthy snacks, such as chips, to avoid any sort of temptation. This helped me get back and track and rid myself of my terrible emotional eating habit.
There are many signs of emotional eating. When feelings become overwhelming, people tend to crave specific foods. They feel as though only one food will fill the emotional void. Another sign is if the hunger feels as though it needs to be satisfied immediately, and can leave behind feelings of guilt.
Emotional eating can be overcome. The first step is to find out what triggers the need to eat: boredom, heartbreak, nerves, or other factors. Then, find ways to break the habit, such as distracting yourself with a bubble bath, talking to a friend, or taking a jog around the block. Feeding your feelings is not the way to feel better, food only causes an unhealthy cycle that can lead to guilt and rapid weight gain.