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Do you eat when you're having a stressful day? If so, you could be an emotional eater.

Turning to food for comfort instead of satisfying a physical hunger is called emotional eating. While under stress, the body produces hormones that increase cravings for certain "comfort foods." When we learn how to manage stress, these hormones return to normal.

You can reduce emotional eating habits by identifying what events are causing you to emotionally eat, tracking the food you eat, and making a note of your feelings. Finding triggers will help you manage your emotions instead of eating. Here are a few tips:

  • Clean.
  • Exercise.
  • Keep a food diary.
  • Listen to music.
  • Meditate.
  • Practice deep breathing.
  • Read a book.

Celebrate your successes along the way. It doesn't matter if they are big or small. Treat yourself to a massage or night out with a friend. This will give you the incentive to keep up the good work.

Additional health and wellness information

If you're a Highmark member, you have access to a secure, members-only website that provides information about emotional eating and more. To access your Highmark member website, select the service region noted on your member ID card. After logging in, select the "Wellness" tab and type "emotional eating" in the search field.