There are so many reasons we emotionally overeat.
Are you feeling overwhelmed and don’t have time to cook? Hey, let’s stop at McD’s and grab something! Oh my gosh, you totally forgot that you had a scout meeting to go to tonight! Oh there goes making dinner. We have a frozen pizza in the freezer. Let’s make that. Dealing with grief? Sadness, depression, loneliness? It’s all part of our lives and can cause us to emotional overeating.
So how do we avoid it? To figure that out, let’s take a closer look at it.
There are both physical and psychological reasons for emotional eating.
Boredom– Being bored or having nothing to do is a common emotional eating trigger. Many people are super busy, and when they have nothing to do will turn to food to fill that void. We hear all the time how horrible the weekends can be and we blame lack of structure. It’s a valid reason, so it’s important to keep your eating weekend eating schedule as close to your weekday schedule. Write down what you want to eat before the weekend. It really helps to plan ahead!
Bad habits– Nostalgia can be a determining factor in how we act. A great example is when you were a kid and you got an A on a test what reward did your parent give? Was it going out for ice cream or some of your favorite candy? Realizing that rewards don’t have to always revolve around food is a good way to stop that bad habit. How about buying a book as a reward? Or going to the movies? There are plenty of different things that can replace a food reward.
Fatigue– It is easier to overeat or eat mindlessly when you’re tired, especially when doing an unpleasant task. Food can seem like the answer when having to do something you really don’t want to. Make sure when sitting at your work desk or at home pounding away at the key board that you don’t have a bag of chips next to you. Put the Hershey Kisses away. Grab some grapes, or another piece of fruit with cheese slices. And one extra tip, make sure those snacks are cut up in tiny pieces. More trips to your mouth fools your brain into thinking you’re eating more than you really are.
Social situations– Let’s face it. We are a society that bases our social interactions around food. Baby shower? Food. Wedding? Food. Funeral? Food. Getting together with family or friends? Food.
And when we are sad, happy, stressed or lonely we are going to want to eat. Whatever the reason for the social gathering it can push us to fuel our emotional overeating.
The key is to make sure where you go to eat has all sorts of options. A pizza place might not have a lot to offer someone eating low-carb or low-fat but a salad buffet might. Pick a place that has a lot of choices and it’ll be a lot easier to keep from overeating.
Bad habits, being tired and social situations are all part of it.
Bottom line, knowing why we are eating (other than hunger) is the only way we can help ourselves.
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Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at Freeport Health Club and Freeport Health Club+PLUS!!!
Carol J Krupke for Freeport Health Club+PLUS