Many people resort to eating junk food as a form of stress relief, which can be caused by work issues, weight issues or relationship problems. Whatever the root cause may be per individual- comfort food is a tool of escapism.
People say they are unhappy because they eat and they eat because they are unhappy, so this forms a vicious cycle clouded by a mentality that sees one’s problem as one’s ‘fix’.
A vigilant mind has to remember that any escapism is only temporary and reality will always return in the end; often the longer we ignore it, the harder it will bite us upon returning.
Experts claim that comfort eating originates from child birth, as babies we learn to cry when we are hungry, as toddlers we are given treats when we are hurt or sick and are also rewarded when we excel in activities growing up.
These lessons provoke the thought of a nature/nurture ideology, meaning that however we are nurtured growing up, are the things we will perceive as natural as adult beings.
We stick to what we know and if that has been taught to us from early on, these old habits can die hard.
You Are Not Alone
Comfort eating is not healthy and will leave people addicted to junk food. Every time your brain is stressed it will crave sugar, which will make want to go for comfort foods.
You have to realize, this does not mean that you are weak, nor does it mean you are gluttonous.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, eating disorders happen to many more people than teenage girls.
There are a high number of men who also suffer from this and binge eating disorders affect men and women equally.
However, the truth is, people have made a choice to “comfort eat” so, we can make a choice to NOT “comfort eat”.
Manufacturers of products try their very best to make foods addictive but who says they have to win?
How Comfort Food Affects Your Mood
Comfort eating may give you comfort and make you feel happy, but that feeling is only temporary and doesn’t last at all.
That happy feeling quickly wears off leaving you with the feeling of guilt and self gloat, which eventually pushes you to binge again so as to experience that comforting and happy feeling you so much crave – the cycle just goes on and on.
This type of yo-yo eating most often leads to mood swings and depression.
Comfort eaters are known to be quite withdrawn socially, choosing to eat alone when nobody else is around.
Keeping all behavior hidden and often deny that they have a problem. An accurate diagnosis requires a professional psychologist to determine if the problem requires medical intervention or not depending on individual cases.
How Does it Start?
Aside from emanating from what we have learned as we grow up comfort eating can be triggered by other factors such as anxiety, low self-esteem or hating their mirror image.
Some people who comfort eat can get a high from binging, but they end up getting hooked and problems can get worse. Like with any other addiction, tolerances can go up which leads to even more weight gain.
Aside from the obvious, there are different levels of binge eating and it can become a major crutch for people with depression
The Health Risks of Binge Eating
There are so many health problems associated with binge eating and they include:
- Type 2 diabetes
- Gallbladder disease
- High cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- Certain types of cancer
- Joint and muscle pain
- Gastrointestinal problems
- Sleep apnea
As you are now aware of the health risks associated with comfort food eating, hopefully you will be less inclined to reach for that junk food next time you are feeling low.
Instead opt to go for a nice long walk or play your favorite music, there are many other healthier things out there that can keep you occupied and keep unnecessary cravings at bay.
If you do believe that your problem has gone far beyond the normal once in a while comfort eating, we do recommend you seek professional help from your doctor.
Are you struggling with comfort eating or food binging? We will like to hear your experience – feel free to share with us via the comment form.
The Myth of Comfort Food – Well.Blogs.NYTimes.Com
Study Finds Comfort Foods Don’t Lift Moods – ABC7News.Com