Teen Experiences Emotional Eating
By Alexa Ballenger
Food, for people all around the world, not only serves as a source of nourishment for the human body – it satisfies our feelings, fuels our emotions, and drives our moods to be what they are. When I’m happy, I could eat just about anything, like a big cheeseburger or a rotisserie chicken. When I’m sad, I tend to seek comfort in ice cream and cookies. When I’m bored, I tend to crave snack foods like potato chips. Ultimately, when you satisfy those feelings with food of any kind while you’re not hungry, it counts as emotional eating.
My own personal emotional eating experiences began when I entered high school, at age 14. Looking back on it now, however, I suspect I wasn’t suffering the trials and tribulations of eating to "feel better" alone – everyone who feels is bound to give in to a food craving every now and then, whether it be the result of a fight with your boyfriend, or a frustrating day at school. If done rarely it can be okay, but emotional eating can be taken to a dangerous extreme that can often leads to weight gain or other eating disorders.
As an awkward, shy, and slightly self-conscious 15 year old girl, I still didn’t know many people at my school during my sophomore year. This was another trigger of inconvenient food cravings for me: I often times found myself dragged unwillingly to social gatherings, where a sea of unfamiliar faces was guaranteed to make me feel anxious and shy. In situations like this, eating was comforting, something to do, and a great way to get out of the awkward situations that I wanted no part of.
Although, for many teenagers, emotional eating can lead to other eating disorders such as bulimia, anorexia, and binge eating disorders, I was very fortunate as I received help in time. I learned that my need to eat came from an underlying depression that I chose to ignore with food, when necessary. I, like so many others in our society today, was on the fast track to weight gain and obesity because I couldn’t control my emotional eating habits.
There are many, ways to deal with an emotional eating disorder. All you have to do is take a breath and realize that there are other solutions to stress that don’t involve uncontrollable snacking. Do this, and you’re on the way to overcoming your emotional eating disorder.