We all know the common cliches. After a breakup, TV characters grab a spoon and break open a pint of ice cream. At the end of a long day, a stressed professional reaches for a few beers. Exhausted, overworked parents indulge in starchy, cheesy comfort foods.
Emotional eating (or drinking) seems to be embedded in our culture, and it’s not just on TV. We all engage in this potentially harmful habit in real life, at least some of the time. For some of us, emotional eating has become a way of life, and it has contributed to gained weight and difficulty losing it.
We can talk about a weight loss plan, if you want to schedule an appointment with us (and we do recommend that). But often we find that long-term weight maintenance begins with addressing what caused weight gain in the first place. Once we figure that out, and take steps to change unhealthy habits, you can lose weight and keep it off for good.
So, what do we do about emotional eating?
Practice mindfulness. We’re all more likely to overeat when we’re distracted during meals and snacks, because we aren’t paying attention to our body’s hunger and fullness cues. Have you ever sat down to watch your favorite TV show, only to discover by the end of it that you’ve devoured an entire bag of chips? That’s because you were distracted. Practicing mindfulness during meals means turning off screens, sitting down at the table, and taking the time to really savor your food.
Stop labeling days as “good” or “bad”. We all have good and bad moments in life, but from a nutrition standpoint, there’s no need to throw away an entire day. Just because you indulged in too many fries at lunch, the day is not “ruined” with regard to your dietary plans. There’s no need to label it as a “bad day” and decide you’ll just try again tomorrow. Try again at your next meal.
Reach out for help. Sometimes it’s better to focus on what you should eat, rather than what you should not eat. Schedule an appointment with us, and we’ll discuss a healthy and realistic weight loss plan. In the meantime, remember that true binge eating requires professional guidance in order to overcome it. If you’re indulging in more than just an emotional cookie or two, here and there, make an appointment with a counselor. Asking for help is always better than bottling up emotions; they won’t go away until you face them and learn to process.