But if you’ve ever wondered why having a big blow-out with someone you care about makes it particularly difficult to put away that bag of chips, new research has the answer. As it turns out, when people are feeling lonely or insecure about their relationships, their preference and appetite for fatty and sugary foods increases. This emotional response can derail hard-earned weight loss wins and also lead to long term, unhealthy emotional eating habits.
To come to these findings, scientists asked half of their research participants to write about a fight with someone close to them in as much detail as possible. The other half of the group served as a control. Then, participants were asked to taste test potato chips for what they were told was a separate study at their university. The researchers found that those who had just completed the emotional writing exercise rated the chips more enjoyable, and consumed a larger portion than those in the control group.
So avoid the trap altogether by seeking comfort outside the kitchen. Although your favorite comfort foods may taste especially scrumptious when you're down and out, previous research shows indulging won't actually make you feel any better. On the other hand, going for a walk, taking a yoga class or phoning a friend to talk it out are all healthy ways to decompress that won’t throw your weight loss efforts by the wayside.