How Emotional Eating Can Be Harmful

Binge Eating

The holidays tend to bring out the best and worst of us in our emotions and diets. In a few short months there are typical binging holidays such as Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years Eve. It’s relatively easy to be unhealthy and emotions play a major role in overeating.

There a number of unhealthy habits that can develop over time if eating activities aren’t managed closely. One easy and unhealthy habit to fall into is emotional eating. This can go unnoticed because it’s not widely considered as dangerous compared to life threatening habits such as illegal drug abuse, and many say they can simply “exercise more later,” but can eating habits really be a danger to you? Let’s explore some of these that in the following article.

Binging Unhealthy Food

Emotional eating usually hits out of nowhere and seeks out specific cravings to be filled. Often times these powerful cravings are for sugar and fatty snacks because of the powerful rush that is experienced after consumption. Seeking out comfort food that is connected with nostalgic feelings has been common practice for all of recorded history. Many snacks (especially candy and baked goods) are associated with memories of fun times or loved ones. Children sometimes develop early obesity when they learn this type of self soothing. The methods that are used to produce foods of these types typically contain high levels of salt, sugars, fats and preservative agents.

Emotional Eating

Emotional eating is often used as a way to avoid dealing with emotions. Not every trigger will be the same for each person, but these could include a range of emotions and feelings including boredom, anxiety, disgust, loneliness, sadness, and even joy. There’s danger in the continued neglect of the underlying reasons behind these emotions. A feeling of shame or guilt might follow in unhealthy behavior. This is especially true when the behavior is hidden from friends or family. If a person uses overeating as a way to escape or distract them self emotionally, a bad habit can develop. For example, a person who seeks food to cope with stress will create a paradox where weight-related health issues arise, and the chosen coping method is food.

Side Effects To Overeating

Emotional overeating can cause devastating health issues. Beyond the difficulties surrounding a poor diet, these could include other health issues such as:

  • anxiety
  • depression
  • diabetes
  • digestive problems
  • high blood pressure
  • high cholesterol
  • malnutrition
  • menstrual problems

If you are overeating and appear to be experiencing any of these symptoms or health problems, emotional eating is likely to be a significant factor. Most frightening of all, some of these diseases have dangerous side effects that could interfere with medical responder’s efforts to carry out life saving procedures. Heart disease and diabetes can also weaken the organs and immune system, leaving you susceptible to infectious disease as well.