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Are You An Emotional Eater?

By Randi Morse

There is a reason that there is an entire genre of foods that we call "comfort foods." It's simply because food can be very comforting. Emotional eating is a very real problem and can cause serious health risks such as diabetes and various heart conditions. When we're young we're often taught that eating can comfort us, so it should be no surprise that adults often eat to satisfy emotional needs rather than eating when they're truly hungry. 

Are You Hungry?

If you are concerned that you are guilty of emotional eating, there are a few things you can do. First, when you feel hunger, try to identify if you are truly hungry or if there is something going on in your life that is upsetting you or causing a great deal of stress. Sometimes your body sends out hunger signals because it needs to release the stress or other emotions that are causing problems within you. So before you grab something to eat, think about how long it's been since you last ate and ask yourself if there is anything actively bothering or stressing you.

Hunger Pangs

One of the big differences between true hunger and the hunger you feel due to emotional needs not being met is how the hunger starts. Generally, emotional hunger comes on hard and strong; you may feel fine one moment and ravenously hungry the next. True hunger generally comes on gradually so you'll slowly start to feel hungry. Make sure you listen to your body when it comes to true hunger. Avoiding eating when you are truly hungry can cause you to reach out and grab the closest food you can find, no matter if it's healthy food or not.

Twenty Minutes

Did you know that false hunger pangs generally last only 20 minutes? The next time you feel hunger pangs come on suddenly, try waiting 20 minutes and see how you feel. You can even drink some water during this time, which should calm the hunger a bit. If you're still hungry in 20 minutes, then your body is looking for nutrients and it's a good idea to eat. If you're not hungry, then the pangs you were feeling were likely due to emotional hunger, not physical hunger. 

Having one pint of Ben & Jerry's when you're struggling over a breakup is perfectly normal and completely fine, but try to avoid making comfort eating something that you do on a regular basis.

To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Azusa, Calif.

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