Emotional Eating: Overcoming a Weight Loss RoadblockPosted: Jan 22 in Lifestyle by Staff
Hunger isn’t the only thing that can lead us to the pantry during medical weight loss in Fayetteville. When we have a stressful day, feel depressed or are just plain bored, those negative feelings can spark a significant obstacle to your weight loss progress: emotional eating.
Emotional hunger can put your diet at the mercy of your feelings, impeding you with detrimental bouts of overeating. It’s a common problem during medical weight loss, but can be just one more bad habit to break during your program. Though overwhelming emotions can make you feel powerless, there are many ways to break the cycle of emotional eating and move on towards your goal.
The first step in overcoming emotional eating is to recognize it. Emotional eating may masquerade as real hunger, but can be identified by several key differences:
- Emotional hunger makes you crave specific, unhealthy foods. When we’re truly hungry, we tend not to be picky; when we’re emotionally hungry, we seek aptly named comfort foods.
- Emotional hunger makes you eat beyond fullness. True hunger will fade when our stomachs are full, but emotional hunger can make us want to overeat.
- Emotional hunger demands immediate satisfaction. Though true hunger can be a nagging sensation, it tends to develop slowly, and we can wait to eat. Emotional hunger will hit you quickly and make you feel like you need to satisfy your cravings right now.
Sometimes, the simple realization that your hunger is emotional can be enough to stop it. However, when the impulse becomes overwhelming, it helps to have a few strategies in place that can help you nip it in the bud, like:
- Disarming the trigger. Each of us may have many specific feelings or events that tend to make us eat emotionally. Discovering what sets off your emotional hunger can help you stay extra careful in situations that put you at a high risk of overeating. The next time you feel emotional hunger stop and think about what may have caused it. How do you feel and what made you feel that way? Tracking your emotions and eating habits in a food journal can help you pick out and resolve patterns that lead to emotional eating.
- Diverting your attention. Once you know the cause of your emotional eating, you can find a way to address it outside of the kitchen. If you’re bored, watch a movie, read a book or find something else that will occupy your attention; if you’re lonely, call a friend; if you’re angry, get a good workout or make a plan to resolve the source of your ire. The goal is to keep your thoughts off of eating, so do something you know you’ll enjoy and distract yourself.
Emotional eating is a problem that has plagued countless dieters, but you don’t have to let it slow down your progress with medical weight loss in Fayetteville. Have any other strategies helped you overcome emotional eating? Share them with us in the comments below!