EatingHealthy.org

Self-Defeating Eating: Unhealthy Eating Behaviors

How a person eats is equally important to a healthy lifestyle as what a person eats.  Food and eating are integral parts of our lives; our food choices may reflect our cultural or ethnic backgrounds, our individual personalities, and even our religions or value systems.  Social activities and holidays often have a special meal as their central point, and sharing a meal with others can develop community. Having a pleasurable response to food – especially high-calorie foods – has been programmed into our physiological make up; when we eat something we love, dopamine (the neurotransmitter associated with pleasure) is released in the brain, reinforcing our decision to have that scoop of chocolate ice cream. With as wonderful as food can be for our bodies, minds, and social lives, unhealthy eating behaviors can have consequences as detrimental as frequently eating foods with little nutritional value.

Eating disorders (anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating disorder) represent extremely severe compulsive eating behaviors that are treated as a mental health problem as much as physical problem.  But unhealthy eating behaviors fall on a spectrum; overeating as a response to stress is a common, even biologically understandable response yet can lead to weight gain or a nutrient imbalance if used as a person’s exclusive coping mechanism.  People can find themselves in any number of bad eating habits that can be hard to break – from skipping meals to frequenting fast food restaurants when on the go.  Sometimes eating healthy requires a fundamental attitude and behavior shift in addition to swapping one menu for another.

Mon Jul 16, 2012
An examination of young children's diets can help prevent their future health problems by screening for risky eating patterns, before they develop into full-blown eating...
Thu Sep 5, 2013
Eating disorders are devastating conditions that can cause a lot of pain in the lives of those who have them as well as their family members and friends.  Importantly, the...
Tue Feb 21, 2012
Eating is often a social activity. Families share meals for festive holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas. Businesses may entertain clients at a fancy dinner or show...
Tue Jan 31, 2012
Does conflict at work leave your stomach tied in knots and take away your appetite?  Or does the end of a bad day find you standing in front of the freezer finishing a...
Tue Jan 31, 2012
You may frequently find yourself rushing off to work or school without eating breakfast, working through lunch because of an over-busy schedule, or foregoing a meal in order...
Tue Jan 31, 2012
We all know that self-sabotaging eating habits can lead to unhealthy weight gain or loss, but did you know that they can also contribute to malnutrition? Simply put,...
Tue Jan 31, 2012
A binge episode occurs when a person eats significantly more food than an average person would eat over the same time period (usually measured as about 2 hours).  Occasional...
Tue Jan 31, 2012
Bulimia is a serious eating disorder characterized by cyclical behaviors of bingeing (i.e., extreme overeating) and compensating (i.e., either “purging,” which usually...
Tue Jan 31, 2012
People who have anorexia attempt to achieve and maintain a body weight far below what would be considered normal for the individual's age, sex, and body type. To do so, they...