Eating is an undeniable part of existence. The body gets its nourishment from food. There are times when we go overboard with our eating habits which can result in weight gain-- or even worse, acquired illness. One of the issues with food is called emotional eating.
The dilemma of emotional eating may be reflected on the weighing scale but it starts out in the mind. Most often, stress affects your life. When this happens, your defenses are compromised your health suffers as well as your emotions.
We all have our good days and bad days. Some people deal with bad days by taking a binge or triggering their emotional eating habit. When you hurt, you look for comfort. Food is the easiest comfort provider and coping mechanism because it won’t judge them or hurt them and it will never disagree with them. To complicate matters, consuming pleasurable foods stimulates the release of endorphins that can make us happy. That's why people feel better after eating something they like.
Emotional eaters utilize food to relieve stress. They hide behind the act of eating rather than seeking answers to the problems. This is not unusual especially when the cause of stress is something horrible such as separation or loss, death of a loved one, or physical abuse.
How will you know if you are using food in this manner? The most obvious sign is weight gain because you eat too much. In context of the weight gain, also examine other aspects of your life:
* Have you been experiencing stress recently at work or at home?
* Has anything traumatic occurred in the last year?
* Are you coping with a problem but have not determined a resolution?
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you are at risk of being an emotional eater. You would eat but even if you are not necessarily hungry at any time. These are some of the foods that are called “comfort foods”:
* Fatty foods like French fries and other fried foods
* High carbohydrate foods such as mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese
* Foods high in sugar content like candies, cookies, ice cream, cake, and donuts
There is hope for emotional eaters. The initial step is to admit that you have a problem. You’ll have feelings of guilt and helplessness. The guilt is caused by knowing you are possibly destroying your health and the helplessness is due to the fact that you can’t see a way out.
Next, seek proper counseling. There are several types of counselors who can fit your needs. Emotional eating is not about dieting or altering your eating habits but taking control over your emotions.
A counselor might advise things like visualization, relaxation techniques, practicing problem solving skills, and family support. Visualization helps you to look at your problems in a more realistic way and not in an exaggerated manner. You will learn to perceive food as nutrition for your body and not merely an emotional crutch.
Finally, your family can help you determine your stress triggers and carefully observe changes in your eating habits. They can help you be mindful of the foods you are eating, help you in choosing the right food and may even exercise with you. Proper diet and exercise will strengthen immune system, regulate blood flow and encourage positive thinking. Yoga can also enhance the mind-body connection so you refrain from unnecessary eating.
Finding new means to deal with stress and solve your problems will drive food out of the equation. You will feel good about discovering solutions which will substitute the addiction to food.