Do you eat to help cope with emotional issues?

In this thread there is a debate as to whether or not most people sometimes eat to help cope emotionally. My opinion was that for the vast majority of people, although food can be enjoyable, there is no connection between food and emotions.

So, do you eat to help cope with emotional issues? Let’s see what the poll tells us.

(My first poll; let’s hope it works for me.)

I eat when I’m hungry.

EDIT: Being emotionally miserable does not make me hungry.

I don’t eat to cope with emotions, no. I eat because I’m hungry. But what I choose to eat may very well be influenced by my emotions- if I need comforting, I’m much more likely to choose something like macaroni and cheese over something like carrot sticks.

I eat because it tastes sooo good. I should stop when I’m full, but I don’t. I love to eat. A lot.

In general, no, but when I am massively, massively stressed out about something major, I tend to want to eat a lot of comfort food at that time.

Like some said in the other thread, I have no appetite when I’m hungry. When I broke up with the first boy who tricked me into falling love with him, I had to force myself to eat after 48 hours of not doing so, because I knew I was supposed to eat.

<raises hand> Big time emotional eater, here.

I think that some people misunderstand “emotional” eating. For me, it’s a mindless comfort to satiate a niggling feeling of emptiness. It’s not wailing while stuffing my face with food.

Well, I definitely hit the chocolate like nobody’s business at certain times, and there are times when I crave foods I don’t normally eat, but as far as I can tell it’s actually based on hormonal cycles and other physical issues.

I do have to make sure I don’t have munchies within reach when I’m at the computer or reading, though; otherwise the packages just empty themselves, and that’s not good. I’ve also had to learn to check the watch before grabbing a snack: turns out that when my mealtimes are not set by other people, I get nibbly at about the time I’m supposed to start cooking. Again, it’s actually a physical thing: I’m getting hungry because the food is nigh.

My mother is an emotional eater (stress makes her hungry), unable to not finish her plate, and eating seems to be about the only sensual pleasure in her life :frowning:

Not really. If something awful happens (sudden loss of a job or relationship) I tend to crave strawberry ice cream, and I have a habit of munching when I’m bored that I’m trying to break. Otherwise I’m lucky and don’t tend to eat for emotional reasons.

Food-loving ectomorph here. If I’m really upset or anxious over something, I have a hard time eating at all, and when I do, even my favorite foods are kinda tasteless and bland.

Wish you woulda included gender in the poll. I bet a lot of women eat emotionally, but I doubt men do.

Anyway…to me, emotional eating is a bizarre behavior. How can food comfort you if your issue isn’t hunger? I just don’t get it.

I don’t get what all the mystery is to be honest. And I’m not what I’d consider an emotional eater, either. But sometimes a Krispy Kreme donut will pick me up when I’m blue.

We all know food that tastes good. We tend to eat those foods more than ones that are equally nutrituous but less flavorable. Thus, most people eat for reasons other than nutrition. We get pleasure out of eating, that goes beyond the mere intake of calories and vitamins.

Some people want to tap into that pleasure when they are stressed out or upset. So guess what they do? They eat tasty food.

The same formula works with alcohol, sex, cigarettes, and shopping. It ain’t that complicated.

So does lemonade. Has lemonade ever put you in a good mood?

Well, I’m a woman, and I don’t really get it, either. I can understand drinking or drugs as a crutch; they erase (or at least deaden) whatever it is you don’t want to feel, if only temporarily. I also get the idea of pleasure-seeking, as with skydiving or sex or whatever floats your boat, where you’re not erasing the bad feelings but rather trying to drown them out with good feelings.

But I don’t see how food works as an emotional crutch. It can’t erase bad feelings, and while it’s certainly pleasurable, I can’t see getting the kind of rush out of it that would make me forget or not care that I’m sad or lonely or stressed or whatever. And as others have said, I personally lose my appetite if I’m upset.

On the other hand, there are lots of things that people get addicted to that do nothing for me at all, like gambling or shopping. I can’t see doing these things for pleasure even once, much less not being able to stop. So I guess food is a little more understandable to me in that sense.

I’m the same way. I was having a bad time emotionally over the past year and I had to really really work to make myself eat more than once a day, if that. I think I had a bit of Seasonal Affective Disorder this year, too, because as soon as the days started getting longer, I started eating regularly.

Funny thing, tho, is that I’m really overweight. I’m a poor excuse for a fat stereotype :slight_smile:

Maybe we should define ‘emotional eating’ better.

All good food puts me in a good mood, because I love to eat. Like music puts me in a good mood, because I love music. But I don’t feel the need to hear music or eat just because I am dealing with some powerful emotions. I usually deal with powerful emotions head on.

Stress absolutely kills my appetite. Extreme stress makes it nigh impossible to swallow.

Now if you’re talking ice cream at midnight, or the leftover slice of pizza you cleverly hid in the lettuce keeper in, or the bag of Tacos at Midnight Doritos in the cupboard that keep calling your name - well, sure. I like my midnight ice cream and try to have a reasonable amount.

Lemonade, no. Sushi, yes.

Bourbon does nothing for me, but if someone were to say that they feel better after of shot of some, it’s not like college level trig to understand how the process works.

“Gee golly, why would somebody drink when they aren’t thirsty?”

Yeah, okay.

Can you stop being an ass for five seconds? Jesus Christ. There are a lot of things that make us feel good, which is why we do them. We sing, dance, watch comedies, listen to music, blah blah blah, because they are enjoyable things. Eating tasty food is an enjoyable thing. Eating tasty food makes us feel good. No shit. I thought we were talking about using food to cope with unpleasant feelings, which is different. I don’t understand how food can help you cope with your feelings, just like I don’t understand how wearing a shiny ring helps you cope with your feelings. Enjoyable to look at, sure, but how did that help you through your break up again?

Yes, I see that some people do this (and feel free to substitute eating food with looking at pretty jewelry or making paper dolls), and I’m saying I can’t relate. I’m not saying “I don’t understand why people eat if they’re not hungry.”

I picked other, because I used to do just that. Food was my comfort for a long time. Now, I go for a walk, head to the gym, or go play with my kids. Walking is my stress reliever as well: if I get under too much stress at work, I step away and go for a walk. We’re lucky to be in a great area for that.

Yesterday, I went for a short walk, then came inside, got my bubbles, and blew bubbles on the front porch. It felt GOOD.