A Finnish study included 230 women ages 30 to 55 and found that the participants who considered themselves burned out, workwise, were more likely to indulge in emotional eating in response to stress, anxiety, or feeling blue. Not surprisingly, study participants suffering from burnout were also inclined toward “uncontrolled eating” that doesn’t stop until all the food is gone.
The researchers noted, however, that not everyone overeats when under stress – some people actually eat less. In fact, the study found no significant difference in weight between the women who were and were not burned out – almost half of them were of normal weight.
But the research team reported that the women who were burned out were more likely than those without burnout to indulge in emotional and uncontrolled eating when the study began and had not changed their patterns a year later when the study ended. They also found that not all the women who considered themselves burned out were overweight.
However, the investigators concluded that job-related burnout can affect the way you eat and lead to overweight and obesity. They added that among the overweight and obese women in the study, the failure to make healthy changes due to burnout “may impair self-esteem and self-efficacy, which are important for achieving success in weight maintenance.” And they advised health professionals when treating overweight and obese women to first assess the level of burnout and address that before trying to change eating behavior.