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Does your mood affect how you eat?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created November 30, 2011 at 9:53 PM

Do you find a change in your appetite when you're sad/angry/bored/happy/etc? When I'm happy or otherwise keeping busy, I have no appetite at all. When I'm sad, I generally tend to not want to eat (as opposed to the famous line by Garfield: "I eat too much because I'm depressed and I'm depressed because I eat too much; it's a vicious cycle"). It's the WORST when I'm bored. I want to eat everything (and usually do. Usually in the form of almond butter). I'm not hungry when I'm angry either.

Fb67dc30cead043d1d13ea503a3044dc

(3280)

on December 01, 2011
at 06:35 AM

Anger kills it for me, too; I can't eat with a knot in my stomach. Yech.

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(10663)

on December 01, 2011
at 02:55 AM

Lol that's very reassuring, thanks.

Medium avatar

on December 01, 2011
at 02:47 AM

i gotta say, binging on almond butter, while not the healthiest food, is a lot better than what many Americans are binging on, so you could be doing worse

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5 Answers

3
96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on November 30, 2011
at 10:38 PM

My answer used to be yes, because if I were highly emotional (excited/angry/anxious/euphoric/depressed) I would definitely hit the cupboards and binge.

Nowadays, emotion might just result in an extra meal of meat or a moderate bowl of fruit and in my book that no longer qualifies as a binge.

I usually plan such "extra meals" in advance of public settings that will involve exposure to "mass quantities of cellulose" or situations that I expect to be emotionally charged. Since I'm planning them in advance, they don't qualify as mood eating anyhow. If I don't see the situation coming, I do the same thing only after the fact.

I'm only half kidding when I say that PH and other ancestral eating sites are now my preferred solution to boredom--the price of using food for comfort is too high.

1
Fb67dc30cead043d1d13ea503a3044dc

(3280)

on December 01, 2011
at 06:34 AM

I eat like mad when I'm bored. I think I crave textural stimulation when nothing else is occupying me, because I go specifically for, say, creamy or crunchy rather than salty or sweet; it's almost never craving a specific flavor (tho I do have true cravings for stuff I need when not bored, like greens).

Luckily the mini-binges I go on now are on Paleo foods, rather than diving face first into a bag of Hershey's Kisses or Cheetos, so I'm weight-stable even when rummaging through the fridge and cabinets on zombie auto-pilot.

And also luckily, PaleoHacks keeps boredom at bay... ;)

1
Medium avatar

(19469)

on December 01, 2011
at 04:27 AM

I'll sometimes snack if I am bored. Nowadays it might be a little almond butter mixed with coconut oil and it only takes a tbsp or two to kill my desire to eat more. I might also have pieces of meat or some fruit.

If I'm upset or mad, I don't want to even look at food. For example, the worst thing is if my wife and I get into an argument or fight on the way to dinner. If we don't work it out it's pretty much a guarantee that we'll just cancel our plans because food seems to be the last thing I want when I'm angry.

If I'm really happy and in a good mood I enjoy everything more, including eating!

Fb67dc30cead043d1d13ea503a3044dc

(3280)

on December 01, 2011
at 06:35 AM

Anger kills it for me, too; I can't eat with a knot in my stomach. Yech.

1
Medium avatar

on December 01, 2011
at 03:27 AM

It could be an underlying nutrient deficiency, check out some of the posts here on that. When you're bored, maybe for you eating is a stress response. You may not feel stressed or sad, but maybe you are without knowing it and eating is your way to relieve it. Also, maybe you're hungry during those times when you're busy and just aren't aware of it, so not being busy just makes you more aware of being hungry. Although the question you have to ask is why are you that hungry to begin with? I've known people eat tons of food when they're bored because it's those times that they're forced to think about their life and what it's missing and they drown out those negative thoughts with food. I'm not saying that's the case with you, but just think about why you feel the need to eat at those times. The brain gets hunger cues from the gut and vice versa via the vagus nerve and gut brain axis, so the next time you feel the need to overeat, take time to think about if you really need to eat at that moment or not. If you wanna eat but don't feel really hungry, maybe exercise at that time or find something to focus on, although I know that's easier said than done. Just thinking about food will increase your hunger so if you've reached that stage you've already lost the battle. If you start thinking about something else, that will send the signal to your gut that you aren't hungry and it'll make it easier to resist the urge to eat when you're bored.

1
3eca93d2e56dfcd768197dc5a50944f2

(11697)

on November 30, 2011
at 10:07 PM

It works both ways. Mood is affected by what we eat, and we eat whatever we're in the mood for. For example, people want comfort food when feeling down, but someone could feel down because the wrong toxins or inflammatory conditions have entered the brain because of bad food.

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