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June 27, 2011

Weight Loss Help – Dealing With Emotional Eating

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Do you sometimes catch yourself raiding the fridge, attacking pints of Haagen-Dazs, or impulsively eating whatever comfort food you see, like a food processor, even when you are not really hungry? Were you feeling stressed, angry, worried over certain problems, or bored during those times?

Stress and idleness can lead to emotional eating. You may end up pigging out on sweet, fatty, and high-caloric foods. This can be a stumbling block if you are also seeking for weight loss help. Do not worry (lest you may indulge again), there are measures that can help you improve your eating habits. But first, let us get a grasp of this tendency.

Weight Loss Help – Understanding Emotional Eating

People seek comfort food to quell or take the edge of the negative feelings that they are harboring, like boredom, anger, fear and loneliness. Emotional eating can also be a form of escapism. A problematic individual may overindulge in food to distract himself from unpleasant realities, such as if he knows that he is about to be axed.

Find out what sparked these negative emotions so that you can deal with them appropriately. It could be due to financial difficulties, problems at work, or having no job, friction in relationships, fatigue, or the rigors of daily life.

Actually, some people lose their appetite for food when confronted with powerful emotions. However, people who are emotionally distressed are more inclined to binging. You consciously or unconsciously eat whatever is there, even if you are not hungry and even if you do not enjoy it. The ugly thing here is that it can become a vicious cycle. You overeat to muffle the pain or distract yourself from dealing with a difficult situation.

Temporarily, this may send you somewhere away from your emotions. But then reality sets in again, and the emotions are still there waiting for you. Your negative feelings are stoked by the feeling of guilt because you backslide in your effort to lose weight. So you binge again, and the cycle goes on and on if you do not put a stop to it.

Weight Loss Help – Overcoming Emotional Eating

You may need some weight loss help to overcome this tendency. The weight loss plan you are following may already have some measures on how to suppress emotional eating, but the following tips may bolster these measures for you to restore healthy eating habits and to bounce back in your shot at losing weight.

Manage your stress. Relaxation and breathing techniques, yoga and meditation, and walking are some methods you can put into action to bridle stress.

Do not starve your self. Deprivation of some foods you want to eat may trigger you cravings. Sometimes you may be cutting too much calories, eating the same healthy food, and avoiding some of your favorite foods just so that you can lose weight. This could ignite your cravings especially if you are down in the dumps again. Allow yourself to occasionally indulge with moderation and eat different foods so as to quell your cravings.

Substitute comfort food with healthy snacks. The cravings may still be there, so instead of reaching out for the usual unhealthy, diet-spoiling comfort foods, eat low-calorie, low-fat snack. You can include popcorn with no butter, fresh fruit, vegetables, or low-calorie, low-fat, variations of your favorite grub.

Validate hunger. Do not confuse your cravings with hunger. If you have just eaten an hour ago and your tummy is not rumbling yet, then perhaps it is just a craving. Allow some time for it to roll by. Maybe you can drink a glass of water to quell it. Maybe it is just thirst, since some people also tend to confuse thirst with hunger.

Stop Buying Temptation. Don’t torture yourself by buying foods that are a no-no to your diet plan. Do not do your groceries when you are in the middle of a negative emotion.

Busy yourself to avoid boredom. Just make sure that busy does not mean you are busily munching on some chips or gorging french fries. If you feel bored, go for a walk, listen to music, read, watch a movie, play with your pet, etc.

Ask For Professional Help. If after attempting to curb emotional eating yourself to no avail, consult with a professional therapist who can help you get a grasp of the reasons for your condition and advise you on new ways to deal with emotional eating. Your therapist may also diagnose if you are suffering from an eating disorder which can at times be associated with emotional eating.

Emotional eating can play a big part in spoiling your weight loss plan; always seek the appropriate weight loss help when dealing with this problem while it has not gotten out of hand yet.

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Dr. Joe Jacko

Dr. Joe is board certified in internal medicine and sports medicine with additional training in hormone replacement therapy and regenerative medicine. He has trained or practiced at leading institutions including the Hughston Clinic, Cooper Clinic, Steadman-Hawkins Clinic of the Carolinas, and Cenegenics. He currently practices in Columbus, Ohio at Grandview Primary Care. Read more about Dr. Joe Jacko

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