Are you eating for emotional reasons? Maybe you eat to celebrate a positive achievement, or to punish yourself for some type of failure. This is a case where you may be eating simply to fill a void in your life. And it is easy to do, because it’s a much better than having to face the issue of why there is a void.
Filling a Void with Comfort Foods Can Be Unhealthy and Dangerous
But a lot of the “comfort foods” commonly used as an emotional crutch are unhealthy, and even dangerous when taken in excess. So if you are eating for the wrong reasons, emotional, mental or spiritual ones, you could be treating your problem with food that creates even more issues in your life.
A dangerous cycle begins where you feel bad about your emotional eating habits, and this can lead to depression and low self-esteem. Then you simply treat this pain by eating. In a very short period of time a healthy individual can suffer drastically and significantly, both emotionally and physically, by eating for the wrong reasons.
If you have just lost a loved one, you may turn to food to soothe your feelings. Research has shown that fat, sugar and salt make us feel good. There is a natural reaction which makes this happen.
Chocolate, mint and coconut can actually calm you when you are feeling poorly. And those are foods which can help you when you are trying to fill any type of void in your life.
Dopamine, Endorphins and Their Effect on Emotional Eating
The problem arises when you gorge yourself on foods heavy in carbohydrates, starches, sugars, fats and salt. The chemicals in those types of food naturally release endorphins and dopamine in your brain. Endorphins are a “feel good” chemical, and dopamine slowly lowers the effect of fat, sugar-filled and carb-rich foods on your brain.
This means that in order to soothe yourself, you require more of these foods to deliver the same response over time. In this way, eating to fill some void or missing component in your life can very naturally, and very gradually, lead to obesity, health and cardiovascular problems, poor circulation and a host of physical ailments.
Coping with loss or any other major void or absence in your life is very difficult. As a Mind-Body Nutrition coach, my job is to understand the psychology of the eater and why we are eating the way we are and what is causing us to eat the way we are. If you are eating to fill a void in your life, contact me for a free assessment to help identify these areas and how you can stop the cycle and claim your life and weight back.