Updated: Dec 8, 2019
From the time we are born, we associate food with love. The first food we take in is mother's milk. Unconsciously, at this very tender and formative age, we associate this sustaining food with the love of our mother. From this very earliest eating experience, a positive emotion is attached to feeding.
As we get older, delicious sweets and treats are associated with positive life events such as birthdays and holidays. Complete with simple carbohydrates and sugar, many of these foods are extremely unhealthy. Unfortunately, they trigger a release of chemicals that leads to short-term positive emotions. It is in this way that some people become addicted to junk food and find it very difficult to resist.
Since emotional eating almost always seeks to deliver positive emotions through food, and the food that emotional eaters consume is not usually the healthiest, a myriad of health problems can develop. Therefore, it is so important to get a handle on exactly why you eat, what you eat, and when you eat.
When emotions drive your eating behavior, you typically eat too much food, and the wrong types of food. This can lead to any number of health conditions, including obesity, depression, heart disease, skin problems, etc. This brings to light one of the 2 major problems which emotional eating causes...
Emotional eating is bad for you when it happens most of the time. Emotional eaters don't usually gorge on healthy fruits and vegetables. They eat food with sugar, salt, white flour, gravy, cheese, ice cream, baked goods, sweets and treats, and they eat large, unhealthy quantities. Because these foods don't have the nutrients, minerals and vitamins your body needs to stay healthy, you encounter several brain and body-based health problems.
Since these foods contain chemicals and ingredients which cause addiction, such as HFCS – high fructose corn syrup - you get hooked on unhealthy foods as opposed to healthier alternatives, and poor health is your reward.
The second major way emotional eating causes problems in your life has to do with something it does not accomplish. When you eat food in response to an emotional need, you are not addressing your emotions. You are ignoring your emotional health, while simultaneously creating physical and mental health problems.
The core emotion at the base of your stress eating never gets the attention it needs, so you continue to suffer emotionally. Emotional eating is bad for you because it damages your body physically, promotes mental health problems, and you stay emotionally unfulfilled.
The next time you are about to attack an extra-large serving of comfort food, ask yourself if you are starving. If you would be happy eating a bowl of vegetables instead of a pizza, you are probably experiencing physical hunger. If your hunger comes on suddenly and you absolutely must have comfort food only, you are probably, and most assuredly, eating as a response to your emotions.