Bariatric Support Series Part 9

#9: Ending Emotional Eating

Challenge Review

Did you accept my challenge to you by removing some of the confusing false appetite triggers in your life? Did you discover other situations that made you feel hungry and find a solution that prevented you from eating?  I hope you will share your experience and any of the strategies you tried that were really helpful to you.

We are all different and we have learned different ways to react to situations.  Perhaps my suggestions were not helpful because they did not trigger hunger. The key is to examine all the situations where you become hungry when you are not, and devise a way to handle it without eating.  Let me know in the comment box below how my suggestions worked for you.

Are you really hungry?

So another cause of eating when you are not hungry is emotional reasons.

Emotional eating is extremely common. Eating a whole pint of ice cream because you are depressed, snacking out of boredom are all emotional reasons that may trigger us to eat.

Beyond being a cause of weight gain in the first place, emotional eating can sabotage every effort you make to manage your weight unless you recognize it and devise a plan to prevent or deal with it.

It is important to be aware of these emotional triggers in order to catch yourself before you mindlessly eat due to them. it is important to identify these triggers to come up with a plan to do something else other than eat. Emotional eating isn’t always linked to negative emotions like boredom, anxiety, sadness or loneliness. Many of our overeating experiences are linked with positive emotions.

Positive emotions can be a party with snacks or a way to reward yourself for a hard days work. So what we have to do is recognize that our eating is caused by emotion and have a plan ready to counter it.

  1. Keep a food diary. it is important to keep track of what you eat during the day in the form a food diary which can be written or on your smart phone.  Our smartphone app Baritastic is one good place to keep your food diary.  In the journal you can add how you are feeling at different times of the day.
  2. If stress is a trigger then take steps to destress. Ways you can destress would be to go at for a walk, listen to music, dance, group exercise, or a bath.
  3. Consider a weight management support group. Support groups are very important to help with weight loss.  Bariatric surgical patients for example do much better when they are a part of a support group.  These groups allow for going through experiences with other people who may have gone through what you are experiencing.
  4. Always have a healthy snack nearby. If that if the worst comes to the worst you can replace the unhealthy food you crave for a healthy high protein snack. Have cut up celery, vegetables in the fridge so it is easy to grab for when you need a snack.  Have a quick protein snack like string cheese and sandwich meats available as well.
  5. If eating when you are bored is an issue for you, how about getting involved in something that can distract you until the hunger sensation passes. Going out for a walk, listening to music or talking on the phone to a friend.

Finally. Beating emotional eating can be hard and you can’t expect to get it right the first time.

First identifying what emotions make you want to eat or identifying the situations it can occur during the day.

Once you have identified this trying to come up with different activities to distract you from eating is important.

Session Nine Challenge

Ok – here is the challenge for the next two weeks.

In fact there are two of them.

  • The first is to journal your food and emotions to see if there are any connections.
  • The second is for those of you who are already journaling.

Look through your entries for the past few weeks and find any patterns that may indicate emotional eating.Now make a plan for the next time this happens. An emergency plan if you will. Write down exactly what you plan to do. When the situation arises enact your plan and see what happens. Do this every time you feel you are at risk for emotional eating – adjusting the plan along the way to see if you can get it to work better.

We will look at results next session so until then, be healthy and remember, forgive yourself for not being perfect – none of us are.