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Don’t let emotional eating get the best of you

by Melonie Dodaro

Sometimes you just have to get real with yourself and look at why you do the things you do … like overeating or emotional eating. What’s that all about? Let’s take a close look at overeating and emotional eating, focusing on what you can do to recognize these negative habits and overcome them. Take note, that overeating and emotional eating can be tied together or stand on their own.

Overeating is simply the act of taking in more food than your body requires to sustain the weight that’s best for you. It can be a result of beliefs instilled in you since childhood or a result of modern-day progress.

Parents are notorious for demanding that children clean their plates. Social gatherings, festive events, special celebrations, and even sporting events are all designed around — you got it — FOOD. There are buffet tables, holiday baking, birthday cakes, the Super Bowl, and more. You name the occasion, and it usually involves eating!

Some doctors and dentists give kids candy for being good. Schools have hot dogs and pizza days and hallways lined with vending machines. We even use enticing names such as “happy hour” and “Happy Meal.” We’re bombarded with images of food on TV and on the street, in magazines and newspapers. It’s all about food. The drive-through, a modern addition to food service, makes eating fast and easy in our busy lives.

Overeating can actually be considered a simple matter of supply and demand. We have lots of choices and are given large portions, so no wonder it’s so prevalent. Throw in emotions, and the chance of overeating skyrockets. In fact, 75 percent of the time, a person’s emotional state causes overeating.

We eat to soothe our troubles. Again, this is something we’ve been conditioned to do since childhood. Macaroni and cheese is a great comfort food for supposedly helping you feel better. When you have a problem and you’re stressed out, a chocolate bar or cocktail or two look like a good way to help you feel better.

Emotional eating can be triggered by:

* Loneliness, stress, physiological pain, feeling sorry for yourself
* Trauma, guilt, anger, tragedy, anxiety, fatigue, psychological hurt
* Depression, boredom, or deep-seated psychological issues

When emotional eating is triggered, reaching for a huge piece of cake might seem the best solution at the time, but we all know that it’s not!

Tools to overcome emotional eating and overeating

Evaluate whether you’re really hungry. You must learn to differentiate between real and perceived hunger. Overeaters will say they’re hungry even if they truly aren’t. Ask yourself:

* Am I hungry, or is the urge to eat a response to an emotion I’m feeling?
* When was the last time I ate?
* Did this hunger come on all of a sudden or gradually? If it was suddenly, then an emotion has been triggered.

By answering these questions each time you reach for food, you’ll begin to gain control of the triggers that cause you to overeat.

Reminder: You need to eat every three to four hours. If you’re “hungry” within that time frame, then stop and do one of these things:

* Find something else to do. You might be bored.
* Drink water. Dehydration can mimic hunger.

There you have it, a closer look at two very important factors to consider when you’re on a weight loss/management program. Now that you know the symptoms, you’re the only one who can take action, putting a halt to those behaviors and changing your habits. But you don’t have to do it alone. For instance, MindBody FX Weight Management System has online support groups that can coach you through the rough patches. You can do it!

About the Author

Melonie Dodaro is a weight loss expert, author and speaker. Her approach to weight loss incorporates showing people how to master their mind-body connection for lasting results. To learn more tips and techniques like the ones included in this article please click here: www.MindBodyFX.com.

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