Many of us occasionally engage in emotional eating. We eat as a way to deal with uncomfortable thoughts or feelings. We eat when we didn’t get an expected promotion, or had a fight with our spouse, or are stressed by a thorny decision. However, sometimes these behaviors become habitual, and we begin to feel the physical and emotional consequences of using food to cope. We get discouraged because we want to change, but can’t seem to do it. Sometimes we try eating very little during the day, only to find we are doubly hungry in the evening and eat more than usual.
Eating to feel better is not an unusual phenomenon. In fact, advertising slogans encourage us to eat to change our mood: “Bake someone happy” or “taste the relaxation.” But sometimes, surrounded by food and reminders of food, and pressured by the media to look/do/feel different from how we are, turning to food for solace can become habitual. And sometimes we find that instead of taking control of when we do and don’t use food to cope, we feel controlled by food.