Do Food Cravings Reflect Your Feelings?
How to overcome emotional eating
By Star Lawrence
Reviewed By Charlotte E. Grayson, MD
The boss snaps at you, and you feel like biting his head off. Instead, you grab some chips from the vending machine and CA-RUNCH! Or your kids are on an overnight, you've got no one to talk to, and you feel sort of hollow inside -- doesn't a cupcake or bowl of ice cream sound delish?
This is emotional eating, says Linda Spangle, RN, MA, a Denver weight-loss specialist and author of Life is Hard, Food is Easy: The 5-Step Plan to Overcome Emotional Eating and Lose Weight on Any Diet.
It's yesterday's news that people don't eat just when they are physically hungry. In fact, we're such a generally well-nourished nation that Jane Jakubczak, RD, LD, student health center dietitian at the University of Maryland in College Park, estimates that emotional eating accounts for 75% of all noshing. People eat for all sorts of reasons besides physical hunger; stress, boredom, and depression are just a few.
"We are trained at a young age to use food for comfort and reward," Jakubczak says.
What is new is Spangle's theory -- observed over 16 years as a weight-loss coach -- that people's food choices tend to correlate to the type of emotions they're experiencing. If you look at the foods you crave, Spangle maintains, you can tell what you're feeling.
Feed Your Head?