Emotional eating can lead to weight gain, increased risk of heart disease. Here are some coping tips

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Saturday, February 24, 2024
Emotional eating can wreak havoc on your health. Here are coping tips
Emotional eating is not easy to stop, and it can cause weight gain and increase your risk of heart disease. Here are some ways to cope when upset.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- When his favorite team is losing, Joe Nnadi of Houston goes for the hot wings.

"I probably eat more, more. I will probably eat more," he said.

"People even joke about it and make commercials about when you know we're upset, we tend to eat," said Dr. David Creel, a psychologist at Cleveland Clinic.

Mental health experts say emotional eating is easy to do because food is so accessible and eating is socially acceptable.

"But at the same time, especially for people who might struggle with excess weight, it can be a pretty serious condition as well," Creel said.

Creel said along with weight gain, stress eating can put a person at risk for Type 2 diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol and heart disease. There are also psychological concerns. Some may experience guilt or shame after overeating.

"I think a lot of it can come from handling our emotion, handling our stress better, that will allow us to live healthier lives in general," said Shekinah Breland of Houston.

So what are some other ways to cope when upset? Psychologists said if you can't solve whatever issue you're dealing with at that moment, consider reaching out to others. It's advice Breland follows.

"Call a friend. Talk to someone. And make sure you have an accountability partner. Someone who says 'Hey are you emotionally eating right now?' And you say 'I might be. Let's go do something else. Let's get out of the house,'" said Breland.

Experts say you can also do some deep breathing exercises, go work it out in therapy, or actually work out.

"Get into more activities, sports," said Nnadi.

It's also important to not beat yourself up if you do wind up overeating from stress.

"When we're able to show ourselves a bit of grace and self-compassion, we can say, 'Hey, although I'm not happy I did this. I look at some of the factors that may have led to it, and I can change that in the future,'" Creel said.