Sometimes it happens after you get an angry email from your boss. Or, maybe because you recently connected with a new love interest…and now he or she’s gone MIA. Whatever the dilemma, cue your hand in the bag of Cheetos or a visit to the kitchen for, well…whatever’s there.
You know what it is: stress eating. “It’s perfectly human to want to avoid pain and seek relief,” says Minh-Hai Alex, a registered dietitian and founder of Mindful Nutrition in Seattle. “Stress eating usually happens when we want to disconnect from the moment. It’s like changing the channel in our brain to try to change how we feel,” she explains. Here’s why food is such a salve for stress — and how to stop the cycle.