We commonly go out to eat to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, promotions, etc. We entertain with elaborate dinners at home or in restaurants. At church functions often involve potluck meals. Almost all cultures prepare and serve foods to comfort those who have experienced loss, to celebrate joy, or to show friendship and love. You name it and somehow it revolves around food. Food is obviously very important in our lives, not merely as a source of fuel.
WHAT IS EMOTIONAL EATING?
In addition to social eating, it is also not uncommon to eat in response to feeling such as loneliness, sadness, and others. This becomes a problem when one cannot experience pain, anxiety, joy or even boredom without turning to food as a principal means of dealing with those feelings, representing a kind of emotional dependency (i.e. an emotional “crutch”). Eating is thus used to fill a void, to distract from certain feelings, or as a “reliable” way to temporarily feel better or to find pleasure.
Emotional eating happens to us all, at one time or another, yet it is a double-edged sword — we may initially eat something unhealthy because we are feeling blue and then feel doubly guilty afterward.
Emotional eating may (or may not) feel good while we are doing it, but it can wreak havoc on our diets, our health, and our minds. Unfortunately, the underlying problem goes unresolved, and of course we cannot undo the overeating. Emotional eaters may turn to food as a source of distraction from dealing with feelings. However, eating these foods often leads to feelings of guilt which can only be soothed with more eating, and can result in a cycle of restrictive dieting, excessive exercise or purging, which only creates more of a vulnerability to uncontrolled eating.
For some, the only way to relieve stress seems to be eating. Have you noticed that you turn to comfort food for self-soothing? A comfort food may be in the form of a favorite childhood dessert or a really gooey bowl of macaroni and cheese. Whatever your food(s) of choice, soothing stress by eating is all too common and can be the cause of some serious weight gain if this becomes a habit.
Emotional eating also has an adverse affect on your health. More often than not, emotional eating includes choosing foods that are not good for you, such as fast foods, desserts, or foods that are high in fat and carbohydrates.
What makes it even worse is the fact that once you have gone into emotional eating mode, weight gain will only compound the problem and contribute to it a continuation of the pattern, in a downward cycle.
HOW DO I OVERCOME EMOTIONAL EATING?
To eliminate emotional overeating, we must examine what is behind the habit. This can be uncomfortable but is well worth the effort.
Instead of trying to focus on what they are eating, the emotional eater needs to learn new skills for coping with stress and other difficult emotions. Often this requires the help of a therapist who deals with emotional eating. If you feel you are caught in the emotional eating cycle, then it is important to reach out and get the help you need and deserve.
Zero Excuse GO is a comprehensive approach to weight control that can help you understand the causes of your weight struggle and to develop effective strategies to achieve your health and lifestyle goals. Our program combines an expert multidisciplinary team with innovative technology that keeps us connected daily, so we can help you be your best self. Helping you understand and overcome emotional eating is often a key part of the program. If you’re looking for the optimal help and support throughout your weight loss journey, do not hesitate to contact us at Zero Excuse GO.