Posts Tagged ‘emotional eating’

Emotional Eating – Part II

Wednesday, December 16th, 2009

Ok, a few days a ago I gave you an understanding of emotional eating and the triggers. Now you need to learn how to break those habits. When you start to reach for food in response to an eating trigger, here are a few activities you can try before reaching for the chocolates:

kid-eating-chocolate

The best thing you can do for yourself is:

  • take a walk, go to the gym (exercise will give you endorphins which will make you feel better and give you time to calm down)
  • treat yourself to a movie
  • listen to music
  • read a book or call a friend (talking can take your mind off the fridge)
  • Plan enjoyable events for yourself to keep busy
  • Clear the house of unhealthy foods and comfort foods you ay go looking for
  • Avoid the shopping if you are hungry, or angry (only go to the shops on a empty stomach
  • Keep a supply of healthy options around

Snack healthy. If you feel the urge to eat between meals, choose low-calorie food more natural products, such as fresh fruit, vegetables with fat-free dip or unbuttered popcorn. Or test low-fat, lower calorie versions of your favorite foods to see if they satisfy your craving (don’t make them a habit though).

Eat a well balanced diet throughout the day. If you’re not getting enough calories from your set meals to meet your energy needs, you may be more likely to graze on unwanted foods or give in to emotional eating.

Be sure to make it a habit to eat at around the same time each day and whatever you do, don’t skip breakfast.

 Include foods from the basic food groups in your meals. Focus on whole grains, vegetables and fruits, as well as low-fat dairy products and lean protein sources. When you fill up on the basics, you’re more likely to feel fuller, longer.

Exercise regularly and get adequate rest. Your mood is more manageable and your body can more effectively fight stress when it’s fit and well rested.

Be open to trying alternative ideas. Sometimes distracting yourself from eating is not enough to manage the emotional distress that leads to excessive eating. To more effectively cope with emotional stress, try body balance, meditation, yoga etc.

These are just a few techniques may assist to alleviate the emotional problems that cause you to ‘comfort eat’.

Next time you feel one of the emotions give it a go. What have you got to lose?

Scott Williams

Ausstralian Fitness Expert

What do you EAT When Emotional? Part 1

Friday, December 4th, 2009

Well after a few of my personal training clients have fallen of the band wagon for a variety of reason and have turned to food for comfort, I decided to write a post about it.

Did you know that the experts estimate that 75% of overeating is caused by emotions.

 stressed-woman-emontional-eating

Emotional eating (generally junk food) is the practice of consuming bigger than normal quantities of food – usually “comfort” or junk foods – when feeling bored, lonely, upset, self-esteem issues, stressed, angry, tired, anxiety, problems with relationships or sad.

Everyone eats for emotional reasons occasionally, but when the habit of using food to deal with emotions happens often, it becomes hard to separate actual hunger from emotional hunger.

Emotional eating takes its toll on the body and causes weight gain. In order to stop emotional eating, you must first admit that there is a problem.

There are several triggers that can turn on the emotional eating tap. It is important to identify what triggers the emotional eating. Here are a few typical triggers:

Emotions

There are a multitude of triggers here: boredom, tension, anger, anxiety, stress, fatigue, depression, or loneliness as a way to “fill the void.” People who are uncomfortable with confrontation may deal with frustrations in their relationship may result in them reaching for the cookie jar, for example, rather than with communication. Food can take the attention off of these triggers and a host of other emotions we’d sometimes rather not feel, and is often used for this purpose.

Thoughts

We are what we think we are. If we think we are fat, we are going to eat to accommodate those thoughts. Eating as a result of negative self-worth or making excuses for eating. For example, getting cranky at oneself for looks or a lack of will power not to resist the food (get angrier and then eat more food).

Peer Pressure

 For example, excessive eating can result from being encouraged by others to eat; eating to fit in; arguing; or feelings of inadequacy around other people. Feeling obliged to eat when around other people so to not be a ‘misfit’.

Location

Eating because the opportunity is there. For example, at a restaurant, passing by the bakery, seeing an advertisement for a particular food. Eating  also tends to be associated with certain activities such as watching TV, going to the movies (popcorn and ice cream cones) or a sporting event (pie and chips at the footy), etc.

Physiological

For example, increased hunger due to skipping meals (big mistake) or eating to forget about pain.

When stressed or anxious, many people become “orally fidgety.” This often it leads to eating when not hungry. Many people, out of nervousness or boredom, just munch on chips or drink soda to give their mouths something to do (especially if they are not a smoker). This excuse is one of the biggest used for smokers who have given up.

Childhood Habits

Many of us have sub conscious thought processes from our childhood memories that revolve around food. Whether your parents used to reward you with sweets, fix your tantrums with an ice cream cone, make or buy your favorite meal to celebrate your successes. Most children develop some emotionally-based attachments to food while growing up. When in times of stress, few things can be as powerfully comforting or rewarding as your favorite food. Because many people don’t develop more effective coping strategies (going for a walk to calm down, cleaning the house etc), this type of emotional eating is very common: people eat to feel better, because it is there, to celebrate, eat to deal with the stress of being overweight.kids-eating-ice-cream

 

 

To identify what triggers excessive eating in you, get a diary and record what and when you eat as well as what emotions, thoughts, or stress you identify as you eat. You will begin to identify patterns to your excessive eating fairly quickly.

When emotional hunger comes along, one of its distinguishing characteristics is that you’re focused on a particular food, which is likely a comfort food (mine is Ice Cream). Comfort foods are foods a person eats to obtain or maintain a feeling. Comfort foods are often wrongly associated with negative moods, and indeed, people often consume them when they’re down or depressed, but interestingly enough, comfort foods are also consumed to maintain good moods.

Ice cream is first on the comfort food list. After ice cream, comfort foods break down by sex: For women it’s chocolate and cookies; for men it’s pizza and steak.

If there is a particular subject you want me to write about, let me know in the comments section below!

Scott Williams

Succeed Personal Training

Australia’s Leading Fitness Expert