“You’ll never understand the reason, until you look deep enough
into the cut to see the emotional pain
that put it there.”
~ C. L. Bartholdi
Eating is a part of life. Your body gets its nutrients from food. Sometimes we can go overboard with our eating habits and it can result in gaining weight. One issue with food is emotional eating.
The problem of emotional eating may end with the scale but it begins in the mind. Stress can take its toll on your life. When your defenses are compromised, your health takes a hit as do your emotions.
Everyone has good days and bad days. How we deal with the bad ones is what usually brings emotional eating into play. You look for comfort for your hurts. People who turn to food for comfort find a coping mechanism that won’t judge them, hurt them or ever tell them “No.” To complicate the issue, eating pleasurable foods can stimulate the release of endorphins much like exercise does. So, after you eat, you feel better.
Look for Triggers
Emotional eaters use food to relieve stress. They hide behind the food rather than seeking solutions to the problems. This is not uncommon. But, how do you know if you are using food in this way?
The obvious sign is gain weight when you eat too much. In light of the weight gain, you should begin to examine other areas of your life:
* Have you been under stress lately at work or at home?
* Has anything traumatic or really unusual happened in the last year, six moths, or couple of weeks?
* Are you dealing with a problem but haven’t found a solution?
Answering “yes” to any of these questions could signal that you may be an emotional eater. You eat but you are not necessarily hungry at the time. The foods that you choose are what we most of us would agree that we call “comfort foods”:
* High fat foods like French fries, fried foods
* High carb foods like macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes
* Sugary foods like ice cream, donuts, cookies, cake
There is help for emotional eaters. The first step is recognizing that you have a problem. You will initially experience feelings of helplessness and guilt. The guilt is over potentially ruining your health and the helplessness lies in the fact that you don’t see a clear way out.
Secondly, seek counseling. There are many types of counselors that can meet your needs. Emotional eating has little to do with dieting or changing your eating habits but a great deal to do with gaining control over your emotions. A counselor might suggest things like visualization, practicing problem solving skills, relaxation techniques and family support. Visualization helps you to see your problems in a realistic way and not let them get blown out of proportion. You will also learn again, how to see food as nutrition for the body and not as an emotional crutch.
Thirdly, your family can learn your triggers for stress and help you keep alert to changes in your eating habits. They can help you be aware of the foods you are eating, assist you in making healthier food choices and exercise along with you. Proper diet and exercise increases immunity, blood flow and positive thinking. Yoga enhances the mind/body connection so you don’t eat when you aren’t hungry.
Finding new ways to solve your problems and deal with stress will push food out of the equation. You will feel good about finding solutions which will replace your dependence on food.