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Women's Health

Discover everything you need to know about women’s nutrition in this section devoted solely to woman’s issues. Topics covered include weight gain during menopause, and tips on how to detect and avoid breast cancer.

Emotional Eating is Not Just for Women

Rather than feeding for hunger, emotional eating is when an individual essentially fuels an emotion. Women are stereotyped to do this, but it's also a male issue often swept under the rug.

Emotional Eating is Not Just for Women


Rather than feeding for hunger, emotional eating is when an individual essentially fuels an emotion, particularly as an attempt to control, monitor, and cope with negative feelings and thoughts.

Whereas women are stereotyped to be the ones turning to food amidst stress, emotional eating is also a male issue often swept under the rug.

Emotional Eating: Men Versus Women

The American Psychological Association reported the following:

• Women of every age are more likely than their male counterparts to report unhealthy eating behaviors as a result of stress.

• Forty-three percent of women report having overeaten or eaten unhealthy foods in the past month due to stress, compared to 32 percent of men.

• When asked why they overate or ate unhealthy foods, 30 percent of women said they could not stop themselves, compared with 19 percent of men reporting the same. What's more, 30 percent of women, compared with 24 percent of men, say they eat to manage stress.

While emotional eating is more prevalent in women at a statistical standpoint, the numbers of its existence in men are nonetheless there.

Researchers and psychologists hypothesize emotional eating in men goes uncovered and uncommunicated based on gender stereotyping. Although women are viewed as being more expressive and sensitive, each gender faces their own emotional realties.

Ultimately, stress, anger, worry, and other negative feelings everyone faces can drive someone to foods. The rise of social media and the distortion of a "perfect" body image might also be a conjoining factor both men and women confront on a daily basis.

Despite the underlying driver of emotional eating, not acknowledging such patterns in a male's world can be destructive to their physical and psychological health, including the risks of weight gain, weight-related health conditions, poor self-esteem, and depression.

Men may not only deter from help themselves, but healthcare professionals may unconsciously not provide gender-appropriate information and resources for men who seek help.

Even on a grander scale, we as a society need to bring awareness and open the dialogue of disordered eating patterns both genders endure. Doing so can help men identify such behaviors and gear them to control and overcome emotional eating patterns with dignity.

Controlling Emotional Eating in Men

1. Distinguish Between True Hunger and A Craving

Whereas hunger and cravings are casually used interchangeable, they are vastly different and distinguishing between the two is essential for understanding emotional eating patterns.

Cravings are predominantly a mental desire, mostly stimulated and fueled by negative feelings and emotions. Cravings tend to be comfort food-specific, including products rich in sugar, fat, and salt, and often pass with time. When cravings are fed into, individuals are commonly unsatisfied following their intake and may even feel guilty.

On the other hand, hunger is a physical need for food and results to a growling stomach, headache, and loss of energy. Hunger is often not exclusive to one food and individuals likely feel satisfied after eating.

2. Keep A Food Journal

Keeping a food journal can reveal patterns detecting emotional eating triggers and patterns, including those bouts of stress eating during the afternoon hours.

Write down how hungry you felt before eating, what and when you ate, the amount of food consumed, and the emotions felt when eating and how you felt afterwards on a consistent basis.

3. Eat Mindfully

Mindful eating is a nonjudgmental awareness of physical and emotional sensations while eating and promotes the concept of "all foods fit." Eating more mindfully encourages individuals to identify hunger and satiety cues, pay attention to the senses, and focus on intuition during mealtimes.

Mindful eating shows success in the treatment of disordered eating and weight management, making it a valuable approach to hinder emotional eating and consequences of weight gain.

Learn how to incorporate the practice with this ultimate guide to mindful eating and start building a healthier relationship with food and yourself.

4. Manage Stress with Other Techniques

Rather than resorting to cookies during bouts of stress, find and implement other stress-management techniques beyond food.

Various stress-relieving techniques include exercising, practicing yoga, getting out in nature, and getting lost in the words of your favorite book.

5. Allow Wiggle Room

Of course, there are going to be times in which a piece of birthday cake is offered and that carton of ice cream is calling your name from the freezer...

And that is okay!

Rather than depriving yourself and striving for perfection, eat satisfying amounts of healthier foods and allow wiggle room for an occasional treat and eat plenty of variety to help curb cravings.

Ultimately, food is meant to be enjoyed in a mindful manner and consistently denying life's pleasures can actually create more harm than good, as food avoidance can paint a damaging picture and lead to synergizing emotional eating bouts.

6. Take Away Temptations

While crunchy chips and sweet treats, sometimes their temptation surpasses the emotions and feelings you

So if your emotional eating trigger leads you to eat a whole sleeve of cookies, keep such temptation away from your house. Furthermore,

Likewise, delay your trip to the grocery store until negative emotions are negated.

7. Manage Stress with Other Techniques

Rather than resorting to cookies during bouts of stress, find and implement other stress-management techniques beyond food.

Various stress-relieving techniques include practicing yoga, taking a walk in nature, relaxing in a warm bath, and getting lost in the words of your favorite book.

8. Learn from Setbacks

So maybe that indulgence transpired into a back and forth trip to the cookie jar...

Rather than dwelling on over the binge and fueling the desire to emotional eat even more, learn from personal setbacks. The past cannot be altered so forgive yourself, wipe off the crumbs, and carry on with a proactive mindset.

9. Let Others Help

In all aspects of life, you do not have to go through this alone...

And while emotional eating may feel too personal and private to share, let others help or at least be aware of the situation and confine in trusted individuals you feel absolutely comfortable with involving. During feelings of weakness or even the uprising of a food binge, reach out and find comfort in their advice and care.

Support groups with others dealing with stress and emotional eating can also be valuable resources, including online forums or out in the community.

Receiving professional help should be considered if you still are unable to control emotional eating. A professional counselor or psychologist can help identify and release inner causes of the emotions while exploring supplementary coping strategies.

It is critical to recognize seeking out this help is not a display of weakness, but an act of strength towards gaining control of the situation at hand and embodying a happier, healthier you.



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