Food is comfort. This idea of food acting as your soft-fluffy pillow after a hard day sounds nice, doesn’t it? However, relying too much on that fluffy pillow can lead to issues when you start using food for more than nourishment for the body. Food can cheer you up when you’re blue – Ben and Jerry have always been very supportive in my decision making skills. Food is often very entertaining and fills those holes of time that you just can’t seem to pass by quicker. Food can also be the center of attention during a celebration – at my house, the first To Do list complied for an upcoming fiesta is the grocery list. Because of many individual’s attribution of events to food, there is often a disconnect between intake for necessity versus intake linked to emotion. Because of scaling emotional attachments with food, individuals can create relationships deemed unhealthy.
Unhealthy overeating is the root of obesity. Consuming excessive extra calories a day can lead to weight gain. I know, those extra calories are lean proteins and whole grains like your RD told you, but they probably also told you about moderation and 2,000 extra calories of whole wheat bread is probably not something you’re going to need. Individuals can begin to overeat which can then lead to weight gain or obesity, especially when unhealthy eating patterns are centered around higher fat and less nutrient dense choices. The February 2010 issues of Psychology & Health focuses on differentiating between eating when someone is emotional versus being emotional about eating. This idea looks at the different aspects of behavior attributed to eating. This cross-sectional study determined that intake of snacks is greater with the formation of a daily schedule, or habit of snacking versus emotional periods during the day. Moral to this study – if you’ve had a big breakfast and feel that you won’t be hungry as quickly today, don’t pack that extra snack which you might tend to eat simply from habit versus what your body is asking for.
Concentrating on emotional eating and restoring your body’s right to identify times of hunger is greatly explored through sessions provided at the Nutrition Counseling Center (NCC) at Northridge Medical Park. They take all ages – from children to adults. Make it a family event! At the NCC, RDs are able to focus on the cause of emotional eating and methods of working around this with modification of daily habits. Re-connect with your body and listen to what it has to say. Having a daily habit is not a bad thing, but it can be the cause of bad patterns if you find that you’re not hungry when you’re grabbing that snack.