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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? At night when I sit and watch TV, I think about eating ice cream. I visualize all the good chocolate swirl and nuts included in every bite. Soon I look at the clock and realize that the shop will be closing soon and before I know it, I’m standing in line to buy one or two pints 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 feed a feeling, usually a negative one. Ever heard of the term “comfort food” (chocolate or junk food)? We try to make ourselves feel better by eating a pleasant treat. The good feeling lasts only a short time. Then we will feel guilty and upset with 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 and then more food to feed that feeling. As I know this cycle leads to obesity and health problems. I will not hammer you with all the problems associated with obesity. Such as health problems, physical discomfort, lack of mobility, and the treatment by and acceptance of society. You, like me, experience it all day, every day.
What I will do is tell you how I came 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 anxious state of mind, dealing with a deadline, feeling sorry for myself or I’m in an uncomfortable situation. Sometimes it’s a simple and positive trigger, like food nearby, smells great and everyone is eating and enjoying.
How do I recognize emotional eating instead of physical hunger?
First – Emotional eating usually involves one type of food (ice cream for me) and only that food will satisfy the craving. Where, if I was physically hungry, any food choice will satisfy me.
Second – An emotional desire arises quickly and needs to be satisfied now. Physical hunger builds up slowly, but I can put off eating.
Third – If I eat emotionally, I will eat and continue to eat rather than be full and full. I do this because I try to satisfy a feeling not hunger. On the other hand, if I eat because I’m hungry, once I’m full, I stop eating.
Fourth – After I finish an emotional eating binge, I always feel guilty and make a promise to myself to do better. Of course I don’t keep that promise and I’m preparing for another food game. 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 feelings such as celebrating with friends and colleagues. In these situations, I usually give up food wise and find that social drinking also becomes an unwanted source of calories. The good feelings created 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 that prevents me from having to deal with a problem. It seems to me that my strongest desires come when I am at my weakest emotionally.
There are many feelings that emotional eating evokes. It is about: stress, anger, fear, boredom, sadness, loneliness, not being heard and not feeling good enough. What we need to do is learn how to recognize these feelings 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, number of calories consumed and the reasons why we ate. This documentation process is a key component to our lifestyle change. We need to know our eating habits so we can understand, recognize and control our emotional eating episodes.
What can we do about emotional eating?
First – Have an alternative for food. Make a list of enjoyable self-help pastimes, such as listening to Weight Loss Clearing Audios, performing an EFT session, or meditating with affirmations. You can do any physical activity such as walking or any other exercise found in the “Calories Burned Chart” found at How Can I Lose Weight Challenge. You can call a friend, write in a blog or join a support group forum.
Second – Take away temptation by not having your desires in the house. Make it difficult to go and get what you desire.
Third – Keep healthy food choices like fruits and vegetables nearby. When those emotional eating binges come, acknowledge the situation and if you have to eat, substitute a healthy choice instead of junk food.
Emotional eating can become detrimental to our well-being. If we cannot control our eating, then seeking a doctor’s advice may be what is needed. Usually, documenting it in our “Food Journal”, substituting an alternative activity and managing food at home will help to overcome our desire to eat emotionally.
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