Even if that bag of potato chips is staring you down, practically begging to be eaten, the food in front of you may not be the reason you overindulge. Your tendency to shovel it in may have more to do with your mood. In a new study of 1,447 female college students, published in the International Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 40 percent admitted to overeating in the past month—and being bummed was associated with feeling totally out of control while doing so.
In other words, this study pretty much confirms what many of us already know: Overeating is often an attempt to satisfy psychological, rather than physical, needs. And, the scientists say, you don't necessarily need to have full-on binge-eating disorder (which was officially classified as a disorder in the DSM-5) to overeat when you're feeling down. It can happen to anyone.
So how can you thwart an emotional eating attack before it starts?
Steer Clear of Coffee
Caffeinated beverages can worsen your stress response, so grab a glass of green tea instead. The drink contains theanine, an amino acid known to promote relaxation.
Count Your Blessings
Being grateful can help you calm down. In a study published in Applied Physiology, people who focused on feeling grateful at bedtime felt less worried and anxious.
Take the Trash Out
Writing down your negative thoughts and tossing them in the garbage can put a serious dent in your bad mood, according to a study in Psychological Science.
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