We've all heard the phrase "emotional eating" It brings to mind the heartbroken woman working her way through an entire box of chocolates after being dumped, the homesick college student finishing off a large pizza, or the recently laid-off friend making his way to the bottom of a bag of sour cream and onion potato chips  while trying to pay is bills. Welll, it may be time to forget comfort eating - because new research shows that happiness could be the reason you're piling on the pounds? Traditional a thinking has always taught us that emotional eating used to be linked to depression, loneliness and anxiety but a study from Medical Daily has found emotional over eaters tend to eat more when happy. Emotional eating can be linked to positive feelings too, like the romance of sharing dessert on Valentine's Day or the celebration of a holiday feast.

Researchers have found that many people who tend to overeat for emotional reasons, eat the most when they are feeling happy. Emotional eating is recognized as one of the reasons why some people struggle to keep their weight under control.

**FYI: Experts estimate that up to 75 percent of overeating is caused by emotions.

Here in lies the rub of happy eating in my long term weight challenged opinion.  Happy eating which may have been a little over the top can lead to guilt that moves you into the depressed emotional eating that can really throw you off track.

First step as far as I'm concerned is forgiveness.  Let is go.  When I can I try to plan for occasions or outing that I know will be enhanced by eating whatever I am in the mood to have.  But when it is a spur of the moment decision, nest morning I let it go and get back on the horse.  There really is no good or bad food.  It is how yo react to it and feel abot yourself that can really send you on a downward spiral. So nip it in the bud early.  Make up your mind today to be kind to yourself.  And if you have kids teach them to ahve a healthy attitude and recognize emotional eating in all it's forms.

According to kidshealth.org:

One key happy or sad is knowing the emotional key vs the hunger cue

Physical Hunger vs. Emotional Hunger

We're all emotional eaters to some extent (who hasn't suddenly found room for dessert after a filling dinner?). But for some people, emotional eating can be a real problem, causing serious weight gain or cycles of binging and purging.

The trouble with emotional eating (aside from the health issues) is that once the pleasure of eating is gone, the feelings that cause it remain. And you often may feel worse about eating the amount or type of food you did. That's why it helps to know the differences between physical hunger and emotional hunger.

Next time you reach for a snack, check in and see which type of hunger is driving it.