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How to Conquer Emotional Eating

From the Show: Staying Well
Summary: Experts estimate that 75% of overeating is due to emotions. It is a huge barrier to weight loss and a healthy lifestyle.
Air Date: 8/26/13
Duration: 10
Host: Melanie Cole, MS
Guest Bio: Cynthia Sass, MPH, MA
SassHeadCynthia Sass is a three time New York Times bestselling author, with master's degrees in both nutrition science and public health. Sass is currently a contributing editor at HEALTH magazine. Previously, she was a contributing editor at Shape, and served as the nutrition director at Prevention. In addition to her writing and editorial experience, Cynthia has been in private practice for over 15 years, counseling a wide range of clients, from professional athletes, performers, models and CEOs, to new moms, teens, couples and families.

A go-to media resource, Cynthia has appeared on numerous national TV programs, including The Today Show, Good Morning America, CBS This Morning, The Rachael Ray Show, The Martha Stewart Show, The Dr. Oz. Show, Nightline and many others. One of the first registered dietitians to become Board Certified as a Specialist in Sports Dietetics, Cynthia is in her third season as the sports nutrition consultant to the New York Rangers NHL team. She has also served as the sports nutritionist for the Tampa Bay Rays since 2007, and consulted for the Philadelphia Phillies from 2007-2009. With a natural/organic food philosophy, formal training in vegan organic culinary arts, exercise science, psychology, and integrative medicine, her approach combines cutting edge research with a deep knowledge of how the human body works, and the art of understanding what empowers real people to transform their lives. Cynthia works with clients in New York City, Los Angeles, and long-distance. She was recently named by Huffington Post as one of "35 Diet And Nutrition Experts You Need To Follow On Twitter."


How to Conquer Emotional Eating
Food can be very comforting.  Emotional eating is the desire to eat when you are feeling stressed, anxious, angry, or sad. Experts estimate that 75% of overeating is due to emotions.

And, aside from the emotion part of it, this type of eating is a huge barrier to weight loss and a healthy lifestyle. 

Serotonin (a neurotransmitter found in the human brain) is a substance designed to transmit messages from one nerve cell to another. It relays signals to the brain to regulate how a person feels. Serotonin levels determine your mood and can affect other behaviors such as hunger, sleep, sexual response, anger, depression and anxiety. 

Low levels of serotonin become even more of a problem when you eat large amounts of refined sugar, starches or carbohydrates. When you have reduced levels of serotonin, this sends a signal to your brain that your body is hungry. Studies have shown a direct link between obesity caused by overeating and low levels of serotonin. People with low levels of serotonin tend to be overweight and feel the need to eat constantly.

The more sugar you ingest, the more your pancreas creates insulin. If there's too much insulin and it cannot be used, your body metabolizes it into artery-clogging fat. Since the food you eat affects your serotonin levels, an unhealthy diet can make you more dependent on carbs and sugar to make yourself feel better.

It's time to change your habits and re-train your brain!

Nutritionist, personal trainer, and health educator, Cynthia Sass, helps you overcome your emotional eating and relearn how to eat... and only when your body is actually hungry.