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Is Overeating a Defense Mechanism in Times of Stress?

Research suggests that stress can indeed trigger emotional eating. Some people who undergo stressful events are more likely to resort to food to calm themselves and cope with the threat.

Whether you’re curious about the link between stress and emotional eating or you’re simply looking for ways to shed those extra pounds gained during the quarantine, read on.

We asked our expert at Weston Medical Health & Wellness, Dr. Andrea Bretal, about how stress may lead to emotional eating and what treatment options are available at the moment. 

How stress causes emotional eating

Emotional eating is a coping mechanism. It can involve eating large amounts of processed foods to soothe stress, anger, boredom, and other negative emotions. Triggers for emotional eating may include problems like these:

In the context of a global pandemic, it’s no surprise that many people turn to food to comfort themselves. Social isolation and fear of the future are strong triggers for emotional eating.

Healthy coping mechanisms for emotional stress 

Overeating is often a distraction from processing painful emotions, and it can lead to a vicious cycle. Many people who overeat end up feeling guilty and worried about their own health, on top of having to deal with the original source of stress that caused the overeating in the first place.

So what are the other ways you can cope with stress in a constructive way? Healthy coping mechanisms include the following:

Another way you can manage your eating disorder is to learn what healthy eating patterns look like and how to pick healthy foods and cook delicious meals.

Conquer emotional eating and start losing weight

At Weston Medical Health & Wellness, we take a holistic approach to obesity medicine. Dr. Bretal has over two decades of clinical experience, and she can help you with:

Dr. Bretal provides a personalized weight-loss plan along with stress management techniques, counseling, medication, and nutrition supplements. Other services, like acupuncture and Reiki, are also available.

If you’re unsure whether your eating patterns are optimal, or if you simply want to learn more about eating healthy or losing weight, contact our office in Weston, Florida. We can schedule a virtual visit, if you prefer, so you can get expert nutrition advice from the comfort of your home.

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