Say Goodbye to Emotional EatingPosted: Jun 28 in Weight Loss Blog by Staff
One of the biggest hurdles weight loss surgery patients will have to overcome is emotional eating. Even after you lose weight and control your eating habits following Lap-Band or gastric bypass surgery, you may still encounter daily stresses that trigger emotional eating. We are all human and with that comes stress associated with our day-to-day lives that may lead to an unhealthy eating decision fueled by emotion.
Stress, depression and anxiety among many other strong feelings can trigger emotional eating. Don’t let a tiny mishap thwart your efforts to maintain weight loss after bariatric surgery.
Here are several tips to overcome emotional eating and stay on the right path to healthy weight loss.
Distract yourself from the urge to emotionally eat. Find a quick distraction such as reading a book or calling a friend to keep yourself from indulging in your unhealthy eating habit. To really help yourself avoid emotional eating, engage in an activity where your hands are involved so you cannot eat even if you want to. Also, try engaging in an activity that relaxes your mind and body—usually after a few minutes the urge to eat should subside and you will have saved yourself from making a bad decision.
Practice mindful eating habits. Mindful eating involves paying attention to your automatic eating behaviors. To avoid the cravings and emotional triggers that urge us to eat something bad, we have to become more deliberate about how we eat. When you increase awareness for such emotional eating triggers you can decrease your consumption and avoid eating too much. The next time you feel the urge to eat something unhealthy—stop. Take a minute to think about whether or not you’re truly hungry or if you’re just feeling bored or anxious and have an urge to snack. When you realize your hunger may just be the result of your emotions, you may be able to stop yourself from indulging.
Keep a journal of everything you eat. After weight loss surgery, it’s a good idea in general to keep track of everything you eat in a journal or notebook. Logging your food gives you a visual of everything you consume each day and will help you stay on track with your weight loss surgery diet. Logging your food can also help you recognize possible emotional eating triggers and hopefully help you avoid them in the future. Go one step further with your journal and log the time of day and how you feel when you eat. It helps to know the difference between the signs of physical and emotional hunger:
- Physical hunger is usually accompanied by symptoms such as lightheadedness and a growling stomach.
- Emotional hunger is when you want to eat but not necessarily because you’re physically starving.
Use your journal to figure out what your emotional triggers may be so you can develop a plan for the next time you encounter one. You may be able to fight off the urge to eat something unhealthy if you have a better idea of what caused it in the first place.
Maintaining weight loss after bariatric surgery undoubtedly requires a ton of hard work—but it is possible. With a little help and a lot of dedication you can stay on track with your weight goals. If you’re having trouble dealing with emotional eating issues talk with your weight loss surgeon to develop a plan of action.
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