When your emotions cause you to overeat, your life can seem out of control and the pounds continue spiraling upward. You may feel that you simply don’t have the willpower to overcome the problem. Your self-esteem and self-confidence may have eroded to the point where you’re withdrawing from those you love and you don’t feel like going out to have fun.
Sometimes emotional overeating occurs because of certain triggers that make you crave certain foods (usually the ones that are loaded with high carbohydrates and sugar) and mindlessly binge on them until you can’t eat another bite. Chronic overeating is an addiction just like the ones we’re used to hearing about – drugs, alcohol and even sex.
As with other addictions, the root cause of the problem must be addressed before you can gain control over the compulsion. A few reasons why emotional overeating may become an addiction are:
- Genetics – The root cause of many addictions can be traced to genetics. If you can prove that some or all of your ancestors had an overeating problem, you may have uncovered the root of yours.
- Childhood behavior patterns – When you were a child, your parents may have encouraged you to “clean your plate” (after all, there are starving children in the world). They may have also shown love by feeding you fast food and lots of sugar. Because of this, you may feel compelled to eat everything in front of you – and show love for yourself by eating what makes you feel good.
- Stress – One of the most dangerous overeating reasons there is. Even though there may be no good way to eradicate all the stress from your life, you can reduce it where you can. For example, if you get up late every morning, don’t have time for breakfast and are ravenous at lunch, you can simply arise early enough to have breakfast.
- Uncontrollable cravings – Cravings are usually caused by a deficiency in your diet. If your food intake is high in salt, fat and carbs, you may experience a decrease in vital nutrients that your body needs to help stave off cravings. You could also be lethargic and bypass exercise, which is critical to losing weight and releasing endorphins that promote a sense of well-being.
When you have the problem of emotional overeating, you’re replacing a void in your life with food. Researching and discovering what that void is can be the key to solving your emotional overeating problems. You may be able to easily find the root cause yourself, but don’t be surprised if you need help from your health care provider or a therapist who specializes in weight and eating issues.