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Emotional Eating

We’ve all seen the Hollywood movies that often depict ‘binge eating’ as a woman sitting in front of a T.V with a big spoon and a huge bucket of ice cream, sobbing over a break up. Reality however, is much less dramatic and far more common than you might think.

Do you eat when you’re feeling lonely, bored, sad, fatigued, angry or worried? Do you use food as a source or pleasure or reward? Do you eat when you’re not feeling physically hungry?

If you answered yes to any of these questions you are eating out of emotion. But don’t be too hard on yourself, as almost everyone is an emotional eater to some degree. It’s crucial to understand that emotional eating will sabotage your weight management efforts and that understanding your own eating patterns can be one of the most effective means of achieving long-term weight loss success.

Do you eat when you’re feeling lonely, bored, sad, fatigued, angry or worried? Do you use food as a source or pleasure or reward? Do you eat when you’re not feeling physically hungry?

Follow these five steps to help end emotional eating:

Step One: Identify Your Triggers – Keep a diary of how you’re feeling, what you are eating, how often and how much. Within weeks you will notice that your emotional eating has a pattern.

Step Two: Organise Your Eating – Often we will hide behind excuses that we believe are “beyond our control” such as working back late, getting stuck in meeting or being busy with the kids. The simple solution here is just to plan in advance.

Step Three: Clear Out The Junk – Remove from the house the foods that you know are going to be a huge temptation for you in times of need.

Step Four: Create Alternatives To Emotional Eating – One of the best way to beat the cravings and emotional eating is to move! Exercise has been shown to decrease the stress hormone cortisol and increase endorphins giving your mood a natural boost. Get out of the house, go for a walk, hit the gym or run around and play with the kids!

Step Five: Factor In Your Favourite Foods – If you recognise that there is a certain food that you just can not say no to, factor it in to your daily caloric allowance.

Emotional eating can be a vicious cycle. We eat to feel better, feel good for a little while, but then feel guilty and ashamed that we have overeaten and sabotaged our efforts to lose weight. This feeling then makes us want to emotional eat again to make ourselves feel better and thus, the cycle continues. 85% of people who lose weight will regain all of that weight within the next 2 years. This often happens because they often only focus on exercise and fail to address the underlying emotional reasons for their initial weight gain. At Fighting Fit we coach that permanent weight loss can only be achieved by someone who is prepared to confront these feelings and those that are committed to developing a healthy new relationship with food.