Overcoming Emotional EatingPosted: Nov 02 in Weight Loss Blog by Staff
During weight loss, help your progress by making emotional overeating a habit of the past
Picture this: After a long day at the office, you arrive at home only to encounter a heap of other stressors. One of your children got in trouble at school, housework is piling up and your spouse won’t be home to help until late. Though you try to push on in spite of your emotions, you find that every anxious minute brings another thought of the treats hidden in your fridge or pantry, a tempting invitation to stop thinking about your problems for just a minute of mindless indulgence.
Bariatric surgery will give you help to lose weight, but it can’t prevent problems like emotional eating. Though worries and bad moods often push us towards the trap of unhealthy foods, giving in will only impede your progress and make your journey harder. Fortunately, you’re already adopting many healthy new habits that help with weight loss.
Emotional eating is a habit, and you can change your behavior to avoid it.
Hungry or Just Emotional?
In a perfect world, we would only eat when our bodies need it, but hunger isn’t the only thing that prompts us to eat. When we’re bored, we may seek the crunchy repetition of potato chips; when we’re sad, we may dive headfirst into a bucket of ice cream or fried chicken. Sometimes, you can stop emotional eating in its tracks just by recognizing it, and you can do so by asking yourself these questions:
- Am I craving a specific food? True physical hunger typically does not manifest itself in cravings—if your body really needs to eat, you’ll likely be open to many options rather than steadfastly craving a single unhealthy item.
- How long did it take this hunger to hit me? True hunger comes on slowly, but emotional hunger hits you instantaneously.
- Will I feel guilty about this decision? If you start having pangs of guilt before eating something, there’s a good chance you should not be eating it.
Of course, identifying emotional eating won’t always be enough to keep you from indulging. Here are a few strategies you can use to keep your emotions in check and your diet on track:
- Find the trigger. Most of us have a few things that are guaranteed to get our goat. Figure out the factors that are most likely to stress out or upset you and stay extra vigilant when troublesome situations arise. If you do succumb to emotional eating, think about how you felt when it happened and what may have been the root of those emotions.
- Do something else. When you feel ready to give in to emotional eating, distract yourself with something completely unrelated. Go for a walk, call a friend, get some exercise—anything that keeps your mind off eating or gets you away from the kitchen.
- Keep a healthy home. If you don’t have unhealthy foods around, you won’t be able to access them easily when stress sets in. One of last month’s blogs can help you learn how to make your home healthier after weight loss surgery.
Emotional eating is a common problem after weight loss surgery, but you can leave this bad habit behind with all the rest. To give yourself the weight loss help you need, use these tips to make emotional eating a thing of the past.
What strategies have helped you avoid emotional eating? Share them with us in the comments below.
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