Tag Archives: emotionaleating

Emotional Eaters, Stop Here


Do you feel like you have a never-ending battle with the scale? Are you tired of gaining weight that stays with you forever? The cause of your weight gain might be emotional overeating. A complex topic, with essential, easy to recognize elements.

Emotional overeating is defined as disordered eating that is characterized by the compulsion to eat even if you’re full. It tends to be a response to negative emotions or thoughts. It’s also seen as a coping strategy for those who are under stress or who have suffered abuse. Food often provides comfort for emotional eaters. But the comfort is only temporary! Emotional overeating can sabotage your diet and weight-loss goals. It can also negatively affect your health. Luckily, there are easy steps you can take today to stop emotional overeating!

Try these strategies:

  1. Figure out your triggers. In many cases, emotional overeating is triggered by an event, thought, or feeling. If you can figure out your triggers, then it will be easier to take control, and stop them from encouraging you to overeat.
    • The most common triggers are stress and negative emotions. Other triggers can be difficult days at work, fights with your family or spouse, and issues with friends or coworkers. Therapy may also help you deal with triggers.
  2. Try to eat only when you’re hungry. Teach your body to accept food only when you’re really hungry instead of viewing it as a constant source of comfort.
    • This step will take time because changing your eating habits is challenging. However, you can take small steps to make dietary modifications. Learn to listen to your body and pay attention to real hunger pangs.
  3. Create alternative plans. For example, if you know that you overeat after a difficult meeting at work each week, then plan ahead and try to prevent it. Try substituting a more positive action that also brings you comfort or reduces your stress.
    • By creating alternative plans that don’t involve eating, you will be setting yourself up for diet success. For example, you can plan a long walk or gym workout after work to get rid of stress. Instead of turning to your fridge and ice cream after an argument, you can binge watch your favorite TV shows or get on the phone with a friend.
    • The key is to find other ways to deal with stress and negative emotions.
  4. Surround yourself with people who care. One of the main reasons many people turn to emotional overeating is because they feel like they don’t have a support network. Do you feel alone and isolated? Reach out to family, friends, coworkers, and others for help. Build a strong support network around you that can help you deal with negativity and stress. Find those whom you can call or visit without worrying that you’re intruding or upsetting them. In turn, be open to offering them support, too.
    • Explain to friends or loved ones about emotional overeating so they can understand why you overeat. Discuss effective techniques that can motivate you to stick to a diet or exercise plan. They can remind you of these techniques when you need help, without being authoritarian or critical, to help you get back on track. 

Emotional overeating doesn’t have to control your life. You can fight it and overcome it with these easy strategies. With any luck, this post serves as a catalyst to reach out and seek help

To Your Success, 
Juan

Binge Eating and Activating Your Neocortex


Urges to binge come in the form of overwhelming desires to eat large amounts of food in a short period of time. They are characterized by a sense of loss of control, excessive food consumption, and often followed by disappointment and shame.

One doesn’t have to have a binge eating disorder or any eating disorder, per se, to be exposed to such urges.  As mentioned before, many people who’ve gone through a period of restrictive dieting experience at least one strong urge to binge. These powerful compulsions aren’t easy to resist. That’s why many of us, at some point in our diet, end up reaching for forbidden foods in larger amounts than what’s reasonable.

This is how we pave our road to ruin and give way to the well-known yo-yo effect. As food consumption is an integral part of our daily lives, we don’t have the luxury to stay away from it, like in the case of cigarettes, alcohol, drugs or other addictive substances and behaviors.Food can’t be eliminated from our lives, but our thinking and acting around food can, indeed, be managed and optimized. 

How can we rise above our durable desire to indulge in food that doesn’t serve us well in the long-term? What can support us in staying faithful to our initial intention for healthy nutrition? How can we make food choices that we won’t regret later?

The Neocortex 

The answer is already within you. To be more precise, it is located in the most recently developed region of your human brain called the neocortex. This part of your brain, especially the prefrontal section, is responsible for:

  • Planning and moderating complex behavior (including social behavior)
  • Goal setting
  • Expression of your personality
  • Decision making

Your true self resides in this part of your brain. This is the self that doesn’t quickly lose control when exposed to animalistic desires such as an urge to binge. How can we call on our neocortex when we want to make conscious food choices? 

Follow these steps: 

  1. Consider your urge to be irrational. Before you take this step, ensure that you are consuming enough food. If you’re restricting your nourishment and starving yourself, then your urge to eat is a legit physiological need that should be met.
    • If you’re eating enough and still have desires to indulge in fattening foods, consider that desire as brain junk. This act will lift you up to the level of your true-self.
  1. Divert your attention. What you focus on tends to grow. If you find yourself trying to fight your obsessive thoughts, they will only increase in strength and occupy even more of your precious mindspace. What works better is to shift your focus to something more productive, self-care for example.
    • Once you allow yourself to engage in a pleasant or meaningful activity, your neocortex will get engaged, and the grip of your urge will lessen until it leaves you entirely. 
  1. Reach out to others. Food can often be used for comfort. Many of us choose to deal with our emotional turmoil by indulging in short-lived pleasures provided by sugary, fattening treats. To keep this from happening, reach out to family, friends, or even strangers. Experience comfort from human connection.
    • In doing so, you’re activating the part of your neocortex that regulates social behavior. Once you rise to this level of consciousness, your cravings will crumble down, letting you carry on with your day. 

These tips are designed for those who have a relatively healthy relationship with food and experience occasional urges to binge. If you suffer from an eating disorder, you’ll find your best results in consulting professional support and recovery assistance.

To Your Success,
Juan

Your Relationship With Food


While I don’t think there is anything wrong with occasional over eating, after all, many things propel us to gorge ourselves into a food coma. Relationship ending, failing an exam, being let down by others, etc.  However, you cannot ignore there is a problem, when you hide the habit from others, feel ashamed, and tried to stop on your own.

Overeating can have many causes, but they all produce the same result. You gain weight and feel like you’re out of control. While you may  blame yourself for lacking willpower or not trying hard enough, there could be something else at work. The real reasons (besides the mental and psychological aspects) why you eat more than you intend, may surprise you, and some are relatively easy to fix. 

There are many common lifestyle habits that tend to undermine a healthy diet. Take a look at this list to find out which things you’ll want to do differently.

Dealing with Eating Habits That Make You Overindulge:

  1. Be flexible. You may think you’re being virtuous for starting a super-strict diet, but being too rigid can backfire. Allowing yourself a few treats can keep you from feeling so deprived, that you wind up eating an entire pizza.
  2. Shrink your menu. On the other hand, planning your meals and snacks around a limited number of healthy foods can help you eat less. The lack of variety dampens your appetite.
  3. Eat mindfully. A lot of overeating happens when you’re busy with something else. Sit down and pay attention to your food instead of watching TV. Beware of nibbling while you’re preparing meals or lingering at the table after dinner.
  4. Slow down. A leisurely pace gives your brain time to tell your stomach that you’re full. Chew thoroughly and pause between bites.
  5. Listen to cravings. Intense urges are usually trying to tell you something important. Eating light snacks can keep you from getting so hungry that you long for junk food.
  6. Avoid low fat foods. Did you know that low fat foods are usually only about 10% lower in calories? Plus, they’re often higher in sugar and sodium, which can make you want to eat more.
  7. Limit artificial sweeteners. Sweetness is one of the signs your brain uses to try to determine how much to eat based on how many calories a food has. Artificial sweeteners make those calculations difficult. Over time, your brain loses the ability to make correct judgements.

Dealing with Other Lifestyle Habits That Make You Overindulge:

  1. Sleep well. A lack of sleep can make you want to eat more and make it difficult for your body to digest food efficiently. Go to bed early on a consistent basis so you can get at least 7 hours of sleep each night.
  2. Socialize wisely. We tend to eat more when we have company. Be especially vigilant when you’re enjoying holiday dinners and office parties. Try to find a lunch mate who eats healthy, so you can support each other.
  3. Exercise more. Physical activity burns calories and helps to fight depression and anxiety, which can lead to overeating. Aim to work out at least 30 minutes a day 3 times a week.
  4. Deal with your feelings. While it’s natural to associate food with celebrations and comfort, it’s important to have other ways of managing your emotions. Call a friend or write in your journal.
  5. Talk with your doctor. A slice of cake rarely does much harm, but sometimes there are deeper issues at work. If you binge frequently or feel guilty and ashamed about your eating, talk with your doctor. Effective treatments are available.

Understanding the reason why you overindulge is the first step in finding solutions that enable you to stick to a balanced diet, and maintain a healthy weight. Use these tips to take control of your eating, so you can stay fit and enjoy your food more.

To Your Success,
Juan

 

Understanding Binge Eating and It’s Treatment


Photo: Yay Images

For several months, Chindeep has looked at the various Anxiety and Mood disorders, as part of the mental health series, the focus now shifts to eating disorders., the most prevalent eating disorder in the USA.

The I don’t know about you, but I gained about 15-20 pounds in the past two years. Pre pandemic, I was out and about in the community, walking between 10-20k steps per day, fit as ever. Sitting at home, dying from boredom, it became impossible to control my cravings. Did I binge eat? Hell Yeah. More than once? You betcha. Disgusted, I looked inward. Binge-eating involves more than simply overeating, it is a mental health related related disorder, associated with inappropriate eating habits and challenging emotions. 

Binge-Eating Defined
Binge-eating is a medical and psychological condition during which a person eats large amounts of food over short periods of time. Regardless of the signals their bodies send that they’re full, those who binge, to continue eat amounts of food that surpass normal portions. Binge-eating involves more than just eating a double portion of a favorite food. Those who binge might eat 2 cheeseburgers, followed by a half gallon of ice cream, and a box of cookies. 

Typical Thinking Patterns
One who binge-eats engages in unhealthy thinking patterns, which drive them to over-eat. They might feel powerless to arrest aggressive eating behaviors. Even though you might believe a person would feel too ashamed to binge-eat, the fact is that shame can actually emotionally fuel a binge-eating episode. 

Experiencing uncomfortable feelings such as self-loathing and shame is a hallmark symptom of someone who’s dealing with binge-eating. Many people who struggle with binging also have distorted body images. They might believe they’re obese when actually they’re within normal weight standards or only mildly overweight. 

On the other hand, a person who binge-eats could also weigh considerably more than the weight charts recommend for her height and age.  Although the condition does occur in males, it occurs more often in females. Recognize that people who binge can discover optimism and confidence to live successful lives in recovery.

Effective Treatments for Binge-Eating at a glance

  1. Self-help groups. As an example, Overeaters Anonymous can provide wonderful, understanding emotional support for people who struggle.
  2. Individual cognitive therapy. For those who require more professional help, attending individual therapy sessions can make a huge difference. Cognitive therapy is conducted by a trained therapist who works to confront the individual’s distorted body image, unhealthy thinking patterns, and feelings of shame.  Encouraging the person who binge-eats to surround herself with understanding, supportive family and friends is another way a therapist motivates someone in recovery.
  1. Family therapy. If the person who’s dealing with binging is a teen, family therapy in addition to individual therapy can be a life-saver. Difficult family relationships can be confronted and addressed. Everyone learns to relate in healthier ways, which can serve to reduce binging behavior.
  1. Intensive day treatment. In the event you require more intensive treatment than individual, family therapy, and self-help group attendance, intensive day treatment may be an option. These programs provide 2 to 6 hours of professional treatment for binge-eating 3 or more days a week, at an eating disorder treatment center. 
  1. Inpatient treatment stay. This milieu therapy provides a 100% supportive physical and emotional environment around the clock to ensure binge-eating behaviors subside and healthy eating habits increase. Outpatient follow-up treatment to provide much-needed support will be necessary as you transition back into your home environment.

Binge-eating is a medical/psychological condition that involves eating large amounts of food and experiencing emotional turmoil. People can and do overcome the challenging behaviors and feelings associated with binge-eating to embrace healthy, fulfilling lives. 

The key to recovery is recognizing when there is a problem, receiving effective treatment, while gaining caring support of friends and family members, to live a well-deserved, rewarding life. 

To Your Success,
Juan