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How Can I Lose Weight? Emotional Eating
If you’re like me, an emotional eater, you eat for reasons other than hunger. Does this sound familiar to you? At night, when I sit and watch television, I think about eating ice cream. I visualize all the delicious chocolate swirls and nuts included in every bite. Before long, I look at the clock and realize that the shop is closing soon, and before I know it, I’m standing in line buying a pint or two of my favorite ice cream.
What happened to me? What can I do about it?
Emotional eating has been described as eating to satisfy emotional feelings rather than physical hunger. What we do is give a feeling, usually a negative one. Have you ever heard of the term “comfort food” (candy or junk food)? We try to make ourselves feel better by eating an enjoyable treat. The good feeling only lasts for a short period of time. Then we will feel guilty and get mad at ourselves. Depression sets in generating an even more negative feeling and mood.
Emotional eating creates a vicious cycle, eating to satisfy a feeling, generating short-term pleasure, then guilt, creating more negative feelings, then more eating to feed that feeling. As I know this cycle leads to obesity and health problems. I won’t hammer you with all the problems associated with obesity. Such as health problems, physical discomfort, lack of mobility and society’s treatment and acceptance. You, like me, experience it all day long, every single day.
What I am going to do is tell you how I have come to deal with this problem. After being on so many weight loss programs, I have come to realize that my emotional eating usually has a trigger. Some of my triggers include: an anxiety state, dealing with a deadline, feeling sorry for myself, or I’m in an uncomfortable situation. Sometimes it’s a simple and positive trigger, such as food nearby that smells good and everyone is eating and enjoying it.
How do I recognize emotional eating over physical hunger?
First – Emotional eating usually craves one type of food (ice cream for me) and only that food will satisfy the craving. Where if I was physically hungry, then any choice of food will satisfy me.
Second – An emotional urge comes quickly and needs to be satisfied now. The physical hunger increases gradually, but I can delay my eating.
Third – If I emotionally eat, I will eat and continue to eat beyond being full and full. I do this because I’m trying to satisfy a feeling not hunger. On the other hand, when I eat because I’m hungry, I stop eating once I’m full.
Fourth – After I finish an emotional binge, I always feel guilty and promise myself to do better. Of course, I don’t keep that promise, and I set myself up for another eating spree. On the contrary, if I have eaten because of hunger, then I do not feel guilty and I am satisfied with my meal.
Fifth – I have come to realize that some of my emotional eating is due to positive emotions, such as celebrating with friends and colleagues. In these situations, I usually overindulge in food and find that social drinking also becomes an unwanted source of calories. The good feelings generated by the celebration are enhanced by good food and drink. I have found that in these cases it is best to eat beforehand and enjoy the company of my friends and not the food and drink.
I use food as a distraction to keep me from having to deal with a problem. It seems to me that my strongest urges come when I am emotionally weakest.
There are many emotions that give rise to emotional eating. These include: stress, anger, fear, boredom, sadness, loneliness, not belonging and not feeling good enough. What we need to do is learn to recognize these emotions and their triggers. The best method I know of is to keep a “Food Journal”.
The “Food Journal” should include the time we eat, what we eat, the number of calories consumed and the reasons why we ate. This documentation process is a key component of our lifestyle change. We need to know our eating habits so that we can come to understand, recognize and control our emotional eating episodes.
What can we do about emotional eating?
First – Have an alternative to eat. Make a list of enjoyable self-help pastimes, such as listening to Weight Loss Clearing Audios, doing an EFT session, or meditating with affirmations. You can do any physical activity, such as a walk or any other exercise found in the “Calorie Burn Chart” found on the How Can I Lose Weight Challenge. You can call a friend, write in a blog, or join a support group forum.
Second – Remove the temptation of not having your desires in the house. Makes it hard to go and get what you want.
Third – Keep healthy food choices such as fruits and vegetables nearby. When the emotional binges come, recognize the situation and if you must eat, substitute a healthy choice for junk food.
Emotional eating can become detrimental to our well-being. If we are unable to control our eating, it may be necessary to seek a doctor’s advice. Usually, documenting in our “Food Journal”, substituting an alternative activity and cooking at home will help overcome our desire to eat emotionally.
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