Do Your Emotions Control Your Weight?
by: Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, PhD, ND, DACBN
There are those who eat because they are hungry. However, there are those who eat because, to them, food is like a pacifier. They eat when they are frustrated, angry, sad, depressed or bored. This is can lead into a major eating disorder.
There's a reason why many of us eat this way. When we were young, we were brainwashed as it were to believe that many of the foods we ate were "comfort foods," that to eat food meant we were feeling good. Ever so often our families would come over for dinner or an outdoor barbecue, stuffing ourselves while engaging in fun and frolicking.
If you think about it we celebrate our birthdays, graduations, weddings, and any other social gathering with food. So we automatically associate gorging ourselves with feeling good. Or perhaps as a child you were taught to eat over your pain. Hey, you fell down and hurt your leg mommy will treat you with a nice big bowl of ice cream. Sometimes, when we fell out of love for some reason, we would resort to eating to ease the pain of it.
The psychology behind that is the eater thinks that food will never reject them nor will it make them feel bad. Food will never turn traitor. In other words, we look to have control (look is the key word here). After all, we get to eat when, where, and decide how much to eat. This is a fallacy.
In past history, we can see this many times. People will feel some type of emotion, be it stress, sadness, anger, loneliness, boredom, or any other emotion that sees fit to enter the picture, and turn to food to ease those feelings. This again is a fallacy because no matter how it may satisfy us initially, it is only a temporary fix. The end result – guilt or frustration, and above all that – fat.
How do I know I'm an emotional eater?
You know you're an emotional eater when your first response to any sort of emotion that is beyond the norm is to eat and eat a lot. Emotional eaters use food as a pacifier and manager of their feelings. Even if those feelings give you minor discomfort, you will binge. What it does, is take your mind off the problem for a while – but eventually, after it is all said and done, the problem will still be there, along with more pain and anguish from you for giving in to the craving. For emotional eaters it is a roller coaster ride. Can it be stopped?
The best way to stop is by starting a food journal so you can keep track of what you eat and when. This way you can recognize patterns. You can recognize what emotions you felt when you ate.
After you have tracked your routine for a while, go back and take a look at your food journal. You should be able to spot a pattern quickly and easily. When you identify what causes you to binge so much, it will be much easier to know when to expect them, and in turn, how to deal with the emotion itself instead of trying to mask it with food. The best way to fight it is to learn what emotion you feel and tackle that emotion head-on!
While writing things down in your journal, make a list of things you can do during those emotional stages instead of eating. For example, if you feel bored, instead of going for food, do a little exercising. This will strengthen your body and make you feel better. Another way to describe it is to replace the emotion with something more positive that will give you beneficial results.
Learn what is emotion and hunger
There are many times when it is difficult to know the difference between a physiological need for food and a psychological want. Real, physical hunger comes on gradually, giving you signs to let you know when it is time to eat - small gurgles followed by large rumbles. At this time you eat more than one kind of food. You eat a variety. But you eat only to satisfy that hunger.
On the other hand, emotional eating comes on suddenly. At the moment you weren't even thinking about food. But then the next minute you think you are famished. This is not physically based, it is psychologically based. You think you need to eat but you don't. Your mind plays tricks on you and causes you to eat when you don't need to.
The best ways to avoid this problem when cravings hit are to wait for twenty to thirty minutes before you indulge. During this time, you may realize that you really don't have any cravings, or you may figure out what you really do need and go after that instead. Usually after a few minutes have passed, the cravings will go away and you won't have the temptation anymore.
Another way to combat binging is to schedule your eating patterns throughout the day. Only eat three meals a day, plus two snacks, and stop eating two hours before bedtime. When your body gets use to this schedule, you're more likely to be hungry at the same times each day.
Make sure you go after the main issues that are causing you to eat when emotions strike. By going after and changing these feelings, your eating habits and attitude toward food will change to.
About The Author
A prolific author, Dr. Edward Group has written seven books and dozens of articles on subjects such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, ultimate health, constipation, pain relief and more... In addition he is editor of the worldwide Internet monthly newsletter Alternative Health and Healing.
His latest work, "Transforming Your Health in 90 Days or Less!" shows people the seven most important steps to feeling good and looking younger without using drugs or surgery. Dr. Edward Group's knowledge of alternative/natural protocols is thorough and his expression is opinionated and passionate. He never fails to share inside tips and helpful ideas that his audience can gain immediate benefit from.
This article was posted on August 05, 2005
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