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8 Things About Emotional Eating You Never Knew

 

emotional eating

We have a long way to go to understand emotional eating, though there’s been a lot of recent research on it to provide us clues as to why we do it.

Emotional eating works to soothe and provide comfort. It’s okay at times, but can spiral out of control easily. It helps to know as much about emotionally eating as possible.

Dr. Susan Albers, author of the brand new book “50 More Ways to Soothe Yourself Without Food” shares these 8 things about emotional eating you probably never knew.

(click first for slideshow)

 

1. You only get a three-minute fix. A study reported in the Journal of Appetite gave participants chocolate and tested how long the “feel good” feeling lasts. It turns out that comfort and bliss only last three minutes (Macht and Mueller 2003). Three minutes! Isn’t it a surprise how short-lived comfort eating can be?

2. Cake plus guilt equals less weight loss. Cake is a comfort food that can be associated with guilt and worry or pleasure and enjoyment. In a study of dieters, those who associated cake with “guilt” vs. “celebration” were less likely to lose weight over a three-month period. Those who had positive feelings and associated cake with being a comfort food were more likely to lose weight during those three months (Kuijer and Boyce 2014). The take-home message: guilt can derail your efforts.

3. Comfort foods are not cross-cultural. Have you assumed that chocolate is the go-to feel-better food everywhere in the world? It’s not. People in different countries and comfort from various foods. For example, in Japan, miso soup, okayu (rice porridge that is made when children are sick), and ramen are popular comfort foods. In India, it’s samosas, potato-stuffed crisps served with spicy green chutney. In Italy, it’s ribbons of fresh pasta or potato gnocchi..

4. There’s a gender difference. According to one study, males prefer warm, hearty, meal-related comfort foods (such as steak, casseroles, and soup), while females prefer comfort foods that are more snack-related (such as chocolate and ice cream) (Wansink, Cheney, and Chan 2003).

5. We choose out of habit. When we’re stressed out, we tend to revert back to the foods we frequently eat—whether they are healthy or not. A study presented at the Institute for Food Technologists Annual Meeting and Expo tested fty-nine MBA students at the University of California during midterm exams. During peak stress times, students were more likely to choose the snacks they eat most frequently (Neal, Wood, and Drolet 2013). This is likely because it takes less thought and cognitive effort to choose familiar foods.

6. PMS doesn’t trigger hormonal chocolate craving. Many people are under the misperception that hormonal changes make us crave chocolate during that time of the month. However, 80 percent of menopausal women still report chocolate cravings despite no longer having menstrual cycles or significant variability in their hormone levels during the course of a month (Hormes and Rozin 2009). The theory is that our desire for comfort and our stress about the approaching time of month causes us to turn to a culturally reinforced way of coping. In other words, we expect that chocolate will help, so we begin to crave it, not exactly because hormones are driving us to it.

7. Ritual is comforting. Do you eat comfort foods in a certain way? For example, do you eat the icing off your cupcake first or cut your peanut butter sandwich in half every time? Most of us have particular ways in which we eat food. A study published in the journal Psychological Science found that performing a ritual (like cutting a food in a particular way or eating it in a specic sequence) makes food taste better and gives you more enjoyment (Vohs et al. 2013). In this study, participants broke a chocolate bar in half without unwrapping it and ate it one half at a time. The non-ritual group ate the chocolate however they wanted. Those who performed the ritual with the chocolate bar enjoyed it more.

8. Ritual is comforting. Do you eat comfort foods in a certain way? For example, do you eat the icing off your cupcake first or cut your peanut butter sandwich in half every time? Most of us have particular ways in which we eat food. A study published in the journal Psychological Science found that performing a ritual (like cutting a food in a particular way or eating it in a specic sequence) makes food taste better and gives you more enjoyment (Vohs et al. 2013). In this study, participants broke a chocolate bar in half without unwrapping it and ate it one half at a time. The non-ritual group ate the chocolate however they wanted. Those who performed the ritual with the chocolate bar enjoyed it more.

Reprinted with permission: New Harbinger Publications, Inc. copyright © 2015 Dr. Susan Albers

 

Here is How to Manage Your Mood Through the Winter Season

beat winter blues
Not everyone is excited about the Winter Holidays. Some people are blue this time of year because it is also a reminder of lost loved ones that can no longer share in family gatherings and traditions. Also, some people suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder which is a condition marked by mild depression during the time of the year when there is less daylight. December, in particular, can also be a time for reflecting on the year and making plans for the next which could trigger anxiety too.

There are tricks and things you can do to pick yourself up and not succumb to the winter blues. Here are few from Dr. Pragati Gusmano at Mode.com

Check out Winter Blues: How to Manage Your Mood Through the Season

by Dr. Pragati Gusmano at Mode

7 Ways to Avoid Overspending This Holiday Season

avoid overspending

Having a financial plan is the key to avoiding overspending this holiday season, according to two finance professors at the University of Texas at Dallas. Finance professors Jeff Manzi and Randy Guttery say consumers should follow these simple steps as they complete their holiday purchases.

1. Construct a budget and stick with it. Go back and look at last year’s checkbook and receipts from holiday spending. Decide how much you want to spend this year, including holiday gifts, events and travel. Planning ahead allows you to look for bargains, coupons and offers like free shipping. Make sure to keep track as you spend.

Make a list and check it twice.

2. Be flexible and willing to trim your shopping list. Buy for families or couples, instead of individuals, or buy gifts for the children in your family, but not all the adults. Decide who and how much before heading to the stores.

4. Buy gifts online or purchase gift cards. If you shop online, you’re less tempted to impulse buy. Gift cards allow you to stick to your budget easier.

5. Pay with cash.  It’s always smarter to make purchases with cash you have available in your checking or savings account, rather than racking up debt and interest, even if you think you can pay it off immediately. Never take a cash advance against a credit card.

6. Keep it simple. Instead of spending money on a loved one, spend time with them. Go to a movie or out to lunch. Help your children create gifts or bake treats. Rather than hosting a lavish holiday party, ask everyone to bring a potluck dish and BYOB.

7. Look ahead to next year. Holiday spending comes every year, so don’t let it sneak up on you. Make a 12-month budget with a free app, such as Mint. See if your bank or credit union offers a Christmas club so you can put away money all year.

Good luck and happy shopping and saving!

Jeffery Manzi and Randy Guttery are clinical professors of finance and managerial economics at UT Dallas.

10 Tips for Taming your Winter Allergies

You wouldn’t think it but winter allergies can be as brutal as seasonal allergies during spring and winter. Usually though, they come from inside pollutants like poor ventilations, dust mites and other pests. Cockroaches, dust mites, dander, and mold can trigger cold-and flu-like symptoms, said immunologist Dr. Joan Lehach

Also, the frigid temperatures that keep us inside also expose us to indoor allergens capable of triggering a variety of cold and flu-like symptoms.

“If you experience more than nine days of continuing congestion, coughing, sneezing, watery eyes and nasal drip, chances are good that you are reacting to the presence of either dust mites, cockroaches, animal dander, or mold somewhere in your home, office or school,” said  Lehach, integrative medicine physician specializing in allergy, asthma and clinical immunology at Montefiore Medical Center in New York. “Many times, and especially in the inner city where populations are dense, all four of these allergens are present and must be addressed.”

Dr. Lehach offer tips for controlling your indoor allergy symptoms:

  1.     Mold inspection: The first step for controlling your allergy symptoms is to do a little inspection for mold inside the house. The most common places to find it are on shower curtains, wallpaper, carpets and the sink. Mold also grows in the drain, which can be cleaned with bleach and detergent. Your best bet to getting a thorough job done is to contact a mold removal service using an online platform like  Shoutwire, for example, for professional inspection and removal.
  2.    Cockroach hunt:  Studies have found cockroach allergens to be present in at least half of inner city homes and in nearly three-quarters of inner city schools.  Cockroaches do not have to be alive to trigger respiratory problems. Dust containing molecules of crushed carcasses can still cause problems for humans.  Professionals can be consulted to discover and clean out hidden colonies.  Nesting areas and pathways where cockroaches may have been traveling should be thoroughly cleaned.
  3. Dry up dust mites:  Keep your indoor humidity at 50 percent or lower, as higher humidity will breed dust mites.  A humidity gauge can be purchased for about $5.

4. Filter out animal dander: If you have a pet allergy,  you probably are going to need to be on allergy medications until you can consult with an allergist and see if you want to be desensitized or not. Meanwhile, a small HEPA air purifier placed in each room will keep airborne dander from spreading throughout the house. Mice or other fur-bearing pests living under the house or in the attic must be searched for and removed.

5. Get symptom relief:  A mixture of sinus-friendly Chinese herbs, like Rootology, can temporarily halt most allergy symptoms in less than 20 minutes. Rootology can also be used to control winter cold and flu symptoms.

6. Start an immune-building diet:  Eliminate foods that are weakening your immune system, like processed and packaged foods, and start eating immune boosting, allergy fighting foods, like blackberries and blueberries. Also important are multivitamin supplements and digestive enzymes to help you access more of the nutrients in the food you consume.

7. Get sufficient sleep:  Our immune system is very “sleep-driven”, and allergies are precipitated by weakened immunity.

8.  Stay hydrated:   When you become dehydrated you get dry nasal mucous and can develop microscopic cracks in the nasal lining, making it easier for allergens to enter your bloodstream.

9. Use the “hot” setting:  Wash your bedding in hot water (at least 130 degrees) to properly neutralize allergens.

10. Wash your face and hands:  Not only to maintain popularity with family, friends, and co-workers, but if there is dander, mold, or dust on your face or hands, chances are good that you will end up inhaling it.