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Are You an Emotional Eater?

Handling our emotions

Our lives are full of positive and negative emotions, such as the joy of a new born baby, the sorrow of death, and feelings of love and hate. Unfortunately, negative emotions often affect us more than feelings of happiness or pleasure.

From childhood we are exposed to emotions, but we all have different ways of dealing with and reacting to them.  We can say that emotions are innate, and at the same time, learned. With the passing of time, we learn to deal with our emotions in different ways--and this is expressed in the way we act when we are confronted with them.

This behavior is unpredictable and we can clearly see it in people who let themselves get carried away by their emotions. If I'm in a good mood and you put a plate of food in front of me, I might be inclined to eat it. On the other hand, if I'm feeling down, I might not eat at all or vice versa.

Emotional problems and being overweight

The relationship between body weight and emotions is very strong. Being overweight can heighten emotions such as anxiety or depression, and anxiety and depression can make you gain weight.

Many people, especially those who are under stress, angry, anxious or frustrated, feel the irresistible urge to overeat, and don't try to control that urge when faced with temptation.  These people are called emotional eaters.

If you are prone to eating when you are going through any of the previous situations, you could, without realizing it, consume a large amount of calories, resulting in weight gain. It is important to learn how to control yourself, and not let your feelings get the best of you.

How do you know if you are an emotional eater?

Take the following test. If you answer yes to any of the questions, you may be an emotional eater.

  1. Do you always finish all the food on your plate?
  2. Do you eat when you are not hungry?
  3. Does watching television make you hungry?
  4. Do you uncontrollably eat one of your favorite foods?
  5. If you are feeling angry, sad, lonely or bored, do you seek comfort in eating?
  6. Can you tell hunger from a simple craving?
  7. After eating a lot do you feel remorse?

Basic tips to take control of your emotions and weight.

  • Allow yourself time to be alone. Listen to your thoughts and feelings.
  • When you are stressed or down in the dumps and you have the urge to comfort yourself with food, stop for a couple of seconds and think about how you are feeling and whether food is really the solution to your problems.  Prepare yourself mentally. This will help you balance your eating habits and eat in moderation.
  • When you have a craving, ask yourself it you're really hungry and when you ate last. If you are not sure, wait 20 minutes and ask yourself again.
  • Always sit down at the table to eat. In addition, avoid watching television when you are eating because it will distract you from recognizing the body's natural signal that you are full.
  • Keep a journal and write down everything you eat, how much you eat, where you eat and how you feel at that moment.
  • Make a list of activities to distract yourself from food, for example: call a friend, read a good book, go for a walk, take a bath, etc. Remember, the best thing you can do is exercise . Practice a sport you like such as yoga, tai chi or any other relaxing workout.
  • Never go grocery shopping on an empty stomach because this will make you buy high calorie foods. If you are hungry, wait a while until the feeling goes away and then do your grocery shopping.
  • Once you have finished eating, focus on the fact that you have eaten well and do not need to stuff yourself to feel good. Reward yourself by giving yourself compliments, taking care of yourself more than usual, or by going to the beauty salon or spa. Think about how much your health and your emotions have improved.


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