Sad? Stressed? Anxious? Watch out–you’re more prone to emotional eating on these days in your cycle

My Hormonology

Sad? Stressed? Anxious? Watch out–you’re more prone to emotional eating on these days in your cycle


I admit it: I’m an emotional eater. If I’m blue, stressed or irritable, I get an intense urge to soothe my emotions with indulgent foods, like cake, cookies, chips and root beer floats. Especially root beer floats. Seriously, you do not want to get between me and a root beer float.

I’m not going to beat myself up about it, though. I know this is just a normal response from my brain, which tries to push me to consume foods that are rewarding as a way to temporarily reverse negative feelings.

Of course, the key word here is “temporary”. We all know that indulging in too many of these high-calorie, low-nutrition treats can end up making us feel guilty, adding extra unwanted pounds and/or increasing our risk of certain health conditions, such as high blood pressure and pre-diabetes–all of which ends up reversing the good feelings these junk foods inspired.

Normally, I’m pretty good at realizing I’m getting an urge to eat my feelings away and find other ways to turn my mood around, for example, by watching a TV show that makes me laugh or warms my heart, going for a long walk outdoors or playing with my dogs.

But, sometimes, the desire to chow through my junk food favorites is more intense–and I cave. And that’s when the root beer float makes its appearance.

If you experience a similar tug-of-war when it comes to soothing your mood with food, you might be interested to discover that researchers have pinpointed the days in our monthly cycle when these urges to emotionally eat become stronger and more difficult to overcome: The second half of our Week 3 (which is 18 to 22 days after the onset of your period in a 28-days cycle).

The reason? The researchers say it’s due the combination of estrogen and progesterone rising together on these cycle days.

Watching your health or your weight and, therefore, want to avoid emotional eating? Simply being aware of when these days are coming up could help you overcome these hormonal effects. That’s because it gives you time to prepare to use your favorite non-food mood-boosters as alternatives and to clear your shelves of goodies you know will be too tempting to resist.

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[Photo: Vic]
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