There are many reasons why people gain more weight than they should carry around. Some have medical conditions that make it easy to gain yet hard to lose, but most people simply eat too much. Saying that someone should just stop eating too much is not as easy as it may sound. Many of these people are doing what is known as emotional eating. The roots for this can come from childhood because that is what your family does, and it can also come from within yourself because you are unable to cope. It is very common, and also something that can be changed.
We grow up with emotional eating. When we have large family gatherings there is almost always a huge meal involved. Some families only spend time together as a whole on holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas, and most get together for some birthdays. These are all events that have food and most celebrate other times with food as well. There is nothing wrong with this, but some people with poor coping skills, they learn to associate the feeling of comfort and love from a family with food, thus they turn to food and emotional eating when they feel lonely or empty inside.
Emotional eating can happen when you go through life without the support that you need. Some children start this as early as their teen years. When they feel they can not turn to mom or dad for support, and they are too embarrassed about their problems to talk to anyone else, they turn to the one friend that has never let them down – food. This type of eating to fill in the gaps emotionally can mean a life time of weight struggles because it starts at such a young age. Some make it into their twenties until they start emotional eating, but this can be a lifelong problem as well.
Emotional eating can be a problem for someone suffering from depression. They don’t want to get out there and be around people, so they stay home. The boredom can often lead to eating, which in turn momentarily makes them feel better. There are some feel-good chemicals in the body after eating, especially after eating high amounts of carbohydrates. This feeling is often short lived, so for someone that is lonely and sad, the only way they feel good is to eat more. Eventually, even this leads to self loathing because of weight gain, and emotional eating gets even worse instead of better.
Everyone is into emotional eating at some time in life and to some degree, but most people do not do this a lot. The trick is to associate food with being fuel for the body, not fuel for the heart to feel better. The body needs food to survive but you can get emotional fulfillment from other things like family, friends, crafts, pets, and volunteering to help others. If your emotional eating is only once in a while, you should be okay. However, if you understand that you can not stop, get help from your doctor. It’s a common problem and learning to stop can be hard, but you can do it.