Is emotional eating sabotaging your weight loss efforts? Here’s what you can do to get back on track!
It has been a long and stressful day at the office, your children are misbehaving and you have to prepare dinner, when all you really want is to escape. You are stressed, anxious, tired, and obviously, irritated.
How do you deal with these flaring emotions?
Can a bag of salty and crunchy chips do the trick? Are a few scoops of ice cream enough to enhance your mood?
Well, apparently, and unfortunately for a lot of people they are.
The use of food as a solution to fix feelings of frustration, pain, sadness, anger, boredom, and anxiety is all too common. Unfortunately, emotional eating can also be a serious hindrance to your weight loss goals, and this is just one of the side effects of this type of eating disorder.
The Good And The Bad
A lot of people turn to food, whenever they are feeling down, irritated and stressed. For a very short span of time, eating can make them feel relaxed, as food brings them comfort. As a result, they begin to rely on food all too often when dealing with problems and negative emotions.
The cliché “chick flick” inevitably always features some girl reaching for a gallon of ice cream following a break up, and this scene is played way too much in Hollywood.
While emotional eating can give you a quick getaway from reality, it is not a healthy practice, by any means, especially when you are eating junk and high-calorie foods, which, is typically the food of choice for emotional eaters.
Emotional eating, also referred to as comfort eating, is an unhealthy habit that can cause a variety of problems for you and those who love you.
Not only will it lead to unwanted weight gain and overeating, but, emotional eating can cause a handful of medical conditions as well, such as, anxiety, high cholesterol, obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and a whole lot more. Furthermore, it can lead of adverse mental health problems, such as, depression, anxiety, low self-esteem and body dysmorphic disorder.
Emotional eating, in a nutshell, is the practice of eating large quantities of sweet and fatty food, as a reaction to feelings and emotions instead of physical hunger.
Clearly, this poor habit sabotages your weight loss efforts, as you will be consuming a great deal of calories that are not required by your body and that you will never burn off. In turn, these excess calories will be converted to fat, which, will lead to weight gain.
If you are an emotional eater it will be that much more difficult to lose weight because the habit of reaching for unhealthy food is so engrained that it will sabotage weight loss efforts.
A Vicious And Nasty Cycle
The worst part about this unhealthy habit is that it can cause problems and issues to multiply, which, can further increase your weight. Eventually, emotional eating can prevent you from learning skills and techniques that can effectively resolve your emotional distress. Instead, you will rely on using more and more food to suppress emotions.
Whatever feelings are driving you to overeat, the end result will always be the same. Not only will your emotions return to their original state, but, you will add guilt and shame as a result of the overeating on top of them that can propel you to eat even more. The result more weight gain. A vicious and nasty cycle.
While most people eat less during distressing moments, emotional eating can turn to binge or impulsive eating. In this disorder, you will be rapidly eating whatever is convenient, without the joy of consuming it.
As a matter of fact, emotional overeating can become so habitual that you may immediately grab a culinary treat whenever you are stressed and angry, without even thinking of what you are doing. Of course, this will lead to more weight gain and a sabotage of any weight loss efforts you are putting forth.
How to get back on track
Even though stressful moments and hard to deal with and emotions can trigger this poor eating habit, it is still possible for you to control your cravings and maintain your ideal weight.
Here are some tips on how to prevent emotional eating.
• Awareness Is Half The Battle: Understanding your emotional eating habits and their triggers goes a long way to beginning the process of recovery.
• Stress Busters: If stress is causing you to eat more, practice healthy stress management techniques, such as, meditation or yoga.
• Get Professional Help: A health practitioner can help you get back on the right path and teach you healthy coping skills for life’s problems and eliminate the need to reach for food.
• Fight Boredom: Watch a movie, talk walk in the park, listen to music, call a friend, and do anything else to distract you from eating. Boredom is one of the main pitfalls in emotional overeating, and with a little attention and mindfulness this can be turned around.
Over to you!
I end this post with arms open wide, ready to embrace whoever this hits home for. I know the struggle of being a woman in an imperfect body. I know how hard it can be to accept our bodies. But it is possible. And it IS worth it. I’m here for you, in your corner. Ready to support you and cheer you on!