Healthy Weight Loss In The New Year

Emotional Eating

Along with the month of February came some health concerns, which in turn caused a bit of emotional upset. Ugh, emotional stress is my dieting nemesis! Here I was worried about how I was going to stick to my healthier eating plan through Valentines Day, when I was completely blindsided by the emotional stress factor. I’ve spent the better part of the month trying to stay on track with my new regimen. There have been good days and not so good days. It’s been a struggle the whole month.

Have you ever wondered what it is that makes you want to comfort yourself with food? Emotional eating creates a complex chain of events. Serotonin, dopamine, endorphins and norepinephrine are the brain chemicals responsible for helping to regulate how we feel. There’s actually a good reason we wrap ourselves in the soothing blanket of sugary carbs during stressful times. These foods increase the production of serotonin, causing a calming effect. Everyone’s familiar with the desire for chocolate when we’re emotionally charged. That’s because chocolate results in the body’s release of serotonin and endorphins. Both of these combined produce a relaxed or euphoric feeling. As any emotional eater will tell you, we eat as an attempt to quell our fear filled, anxious or sad emotions.

If the panacea for our emotions is endorphins and dopamine, then I think we need to find a better way of stimulating them rather than eating to get their attention. Did you know that things like meditation, chanting, scalp and foot massage, laughing, sex, music and exercise all cause our bodies to release these feel good chemicals? I didn’t know either, but in looking ahead, I hope to find an alternative to eating when I’m feeling emotionally charged, so if you see a lady standing on the street corner downtown who’s wearing headphones, intermittently chanting and laughing her butt off, that will just be me trying to avoid putting food in my mouth for comfort. Hope I don’t get locked up.

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~ by msbee1 on February 20, 2010.

2 Responses to “Healthy Weight Loss In The New Year”

  1. Great information. So many different emotions causing us to over eat. I feel this is a huge problem with children, too.

  2. Brenda, well … well put!

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