If you have often felt bored and trying to distract yourself with food, or have experienced any of the following, you are most probably an emotional eater: in certain situations, some people tend to compensate their stress with food. If, during difficult situations you feel you need to eat that burger with fries, it may well be down to the stress hormone cortisol which elevates cravings for both fatty and salty foods. The act of binging provides a quick energy boost and a short-term satisfying, feel-good effect.
Many people use food as a coping mechanism to avoid negative emotions, whether that be – anxiety, sadness, irritation or simply boredom. In fact, boredom and hormonal imbalances are two of the most common triggers for emotional eating. We must, however, also consider how our behaviors surrounding food have been shaped during early childhood. For instance, if sweets were given to us as a reward or consolation as children, there is a high chance we may have developed an automatic association between food and comfort, prompting us to reach out for those sweet treats when feeling low and in need of a pick me up.