Emotional eating can cause unhealthy problems - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Emotional eating can cause unhealthy problems

Do something else to take your mind away from eating. Do something else to take your mind away from eating.

We all overeat from time to time, but emotional eating is when someone overeats in response to their feelings instead of hunger.  It can comfort us in the short term, but cause problems in the long run.

Counselor Jessica Dominowski with Mercy Medical Center says we often turn to food to comfort us.

"A lot of times we don't feel comfortable in our feelings, so eating can bring about quick release or quick comfort," says Dominowski.    

She says we usually eat junk food, like sweet, salty, or fatty foods, to heal our emotional problems.  She says we tend to overeat when we are feeling depressed, bored, lonely, angry, anxious, frustrated or stressed.  We also overeat when we may have problems with relationships or we have poor self-esteem.

"We will take that food in and we will use it as kind of a quick fix," says Dominowski.  "We don't like how we are feeling or we use it to celebrate."

But Dominowski says that's a problem and can become a bad habit.  

"Afterwards there is a feeling of guilt which kind of keeps us in that cycle in some ways because we feel guilty about what we just did and then we have more intense emotions and we continue to eat," says Dominowski.

To keep the urge to binge away, Dominowski says do something to take your mind off of eating.  She suggests to read a book, go for a walk or jog, take a bubble bath, play a game, talk to a friend, do housework or yard work.

She says distracting yourself from eating and developing better alternative habits helps you cope and create healthier you.  She says you may also have to deal with your emotions before you can curb your urge to eat and that may mean talking to a trained counselor.

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