If you’ve had a bad day do you soothe your stress levels with a tub of ice cream, or treat yourself to an extra large double cheese pizza? It could be that you have been persuaded into this routine by your parents, according to research.
A study suggests that parents who comforted their children with food, or who emotionally ate themselves, may have, without reloading, taught their children this habit.
The research, published in Child Development journal, found that the children were likely to adopt this behaviour between the ages of eight and ten.
Psychologist Corinne Sweet supports this theory.
She said: “When we are small and growing up we watch other people and learn from them.
“Our parents are our main sourced of habit-formation, in that we copy mummy and daddy (or other care-givers) from an early age.
“Think of little girls putting on mummy’s big shoes, beads and lipstick…or boys pretending to shave, like daddy.
“Alongside copying those close to us, and experimenting, is the motional element of habit-formation.
“We tend to do things over and over, or create a habitual practice, when we feel sad, frightened, fearful, hungry, lonely, bored or any other combination of feelings.
“We ‘learn’ to comfort ourselves, and to manage our emotions, or push them aside, with things like food and drink.”
Are you stressed, tired, lonely or angry? Identifying your emotions and finding alternative way to deal with them, as opposed to powering your way through the likes of endless crips packets, can help you take back control of your eating habits.
“This may take effort and time, as we often hand on to what is familiar, but if you stick to it, you will soon be reaping the rewards for a little thoughtful decision-making, retraining and application of willpower – with a little help from your Slissie friend,” explains Corinne.
Weight loss: How to stop emotional eating | Diets | Life & Style