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Did you know that your mood can affect your eating habits and vice versa? If you want to avoid emotional eating that leads to weight gain, it is important to understand the delicate relationship between food and mood.
Understanding “Mind-less” Eating Habits
It is common to crave high-calorie, unhealthy foods when you are stressed or depressed. Your body doesn’t understand the difference between the stress from an everyday situation and stress from fighting for your life, so you may find your body wanting to fuel up for fight-or-flight mode.
Eating in response to stress can become a vicious cycle. Eating all that sugary junk only increases your anxiety which leads to more unhealthy food consumption. As this continues, your body adapts to the intake of fats and sugars leading to a downward spiral of bad eating habits. This can cause a variety of health issues, the major one being excess weight gain. Being overweight or obese increases your risk for chronic diseases, such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and some forms of cancer.
You’re not trapped! There is always a way to break the cycle. While eating unhealthy foods can keep you feeling sad and anxious, eating healthy food can make you feel happier. When you feel happier, you are more likely to crave healthier foods. Eating healthy food is an important part of obtaining and maintaining a healthy weight.
A long-term, healthy diet can help to stabilize your mood, lose excess weight, and make it easier to say no to that cupcake after a difficult day. If you notice that your relationship with food or your eating behaviors is drastically affecting your life or your health, this could be a sign of an eating disorder and it is important that you seek help from a medical provider.
Unhealthy meals and snacking can lead to excess weight gain. Being mindful when you select, prepare, and eat your food can help stop mindless snacking and help you make better food choices. At meal/snack time, slow down, set the table, turn off all devices, and just focus on what you are eating.
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