Emotions That Can Trip You Up!
Are you one of those frustrated dieters
who find yourself either always on a diet or hopelessly
overeating after coming off a diet? Perhaps you are one of
the many who diet with limited success, but have an even harder
time keeping it off?
It is possible that you are struggling
with losing weight due to your subconscious responding
to what is called “Emotional Eating.” Emotional eating is
exactly what it sounds like: eating because there are
internal emotional triggers that are set off causing you to
reach out for food when you are not really hungry.
A recent study just published by obesity researchers
at Miriam Hospital and the Warren Alpert Medical School of
Brown University have found that emotional eaters have the
hardest time keeping off weight and tend to lose less weight
overall than those dieters who overeat from external
influences such as parties or business meetings.
The results from the study suggest that
getting a handle on your tendency to eat in response to
emotions can be a significant important factor in achieving
long-term success with your weight loss goals.
In some ways, it is not all that
surprising those researchers have determined that dieting is
hardest for emotional eaters. After all, ever since we were
born we have been conditioned to respond to food. From
mothers soothing their babies to holiday or family
celebrations, food plays a central role in our lives and
complicates how we can control our weight loss behavior.
What are some indicators that you can
look for that may trigger emotional eating?
- Anger, stress, frustration,
upcoming deadlines or feeling misunderstood are
prime-time emotions that everyone experiences
periodically. For some, it is easier to stifle the
feelings or take them out via eating food.
- Hopelessness, loneliness,
depression, boredom and that “empty feeling” that
something’s missing are another area of emotions that
tend to trigger emotional eating.
These are only a few of the many
triggers that may initiate emotional eating.
But never fear, there is hope! The very first
step in taking control of the problem is to recognize it and
tackle it head on:
- Become more aware of how and why
you may be using food to alleviate your emotional
distress. Ask yourself: why am I eating this?
- Use a food journal such as our
free online journal to help keep track of what you’re
eating and how often – especially useful if you are
eating without really being hungry.
- Identify the triggers that cause
you to reach for food by writing them down as they are
- Find support to help you through
this process through appropriate professional help if
- Limit buying and bringing home the foods that you binge on
in order to cut down the temptations.
- Eat small, regular meals – do not
skip! Skipping meals actually increases the likelihood
that you will overeat.
- Substitute and create alternatives
to eating such as: going for a walk, taking a bubble bath,
listening to some music, reading an entertaining magazine for
15 or 20 minutes or doing any other activity of your liking to
help keep the focus off food cravings.
And most importantly, if you
slip up, do not give up! Forgive yourself! After all, we are all
only human and we all make mistakes. Learn from your
mistakes, start anew and stay focused on the
positive aspects of what you are doing to improve your