Helping Baby Boomers get fit … get well … and live longer!

Tip: Before you rush into an unhealthy food choice, ask yourself: are you truly hungry? You may just be bored, sad, stressed or lonely. Evaluating your emotions and eating mindfully can drastically cut unnecessary calories.

I’m an emotional eater. When I’m under stress, I eat. I have a long list of foods I crave when I’m under stress, like chips, soda, cookies and chocolate candy. The more I worry, the more I eat. The more I eat, the more weight I gain because the foods I choose to eat are not the healthiest foods.

Emotional eating has nothing to do with dieting or changing your eating habits but it has everything to do with gaining control over your emotions. To determine if there are stressors negatively impacting your eating habits, ask yourself the following questions:

Are you dealing with some unresolved issues in your life?

Have you recently been under any stress at work or at home?

Has anything traumatic happened in your life in the past year, like a death, job loss or break up?

Are you more emotional or sad due to hormonal changes or certain medications?

Do you suffer from hormonal changes every month where you find that you are more emotional or sad?

If you answered “Yes” to any of these questions, you may be an emotional eater. You may find yourself eating when you are not really hungry. Boredom, feelings of sadness, anxiety, and being under stress are triggers that can cause us to overeat. When these stressors or emotions kick in, you may find yourself reaching for some “comfort” food.

Here are some of the “comfort” foods I reach for when I’m under stress:

* High-fat foods like French fries, fried foods, and chips

* High-carb foods like macaroni-n-cheese, mashed potatoes and bread

* Sugary foods like ice cream, donuts, cookies, and chocolate candy

Do you find yourself reaching for any of these foods when you’re under stress, bored or sad? Are you gaining weight as a result of consuming more fat than you are burning off through exercise?

We must eat in order to live. We get the nutrients our body needs from our food. However, we must be able to control the type of foods and the amount of food we consume in order to not exceed our daily recommended caloric intake.

We can lose weight faster than ever when we are able to manage our emotions. It all starts with knowing if we’re eating because we’re bored, sad, lonely, stressed out, or hungry.

Our emotions and our state of mind play a big role in whether or not we will overeat. Getting this emotional eating under control is of utmost importance if we ever expect to gain control of our weight and lose the excess pounds.

Some of us will readily identify these behaviors and put forth the effort to effectively overcome our emotional eating by eliminating the bad foods from our fridge and cupboards. Some of us may need counseling in order to identify the emotions that are causing us to overeat.

We may need to seek counseling to help us identify the emotions causing us to overeat. A counselor might suggest things like visualization, practicing problem solving skills, relaxation techniques and family support. Visualization helps you to see your problems in a realistic way and not blown out of proportion. You will also learn to see food as nutrition for the body and not an emotional crutch.

We can also enlist the help of our family in helping us gain more control over our eating habits. If we share with them our triggers for stress, for instance, they can be on the lookout for those triggers and help us make healthy food choices. They can also exercise with us and be our accountability partner.

Eating a proper diet full of healthy foods, along with exercise, will increase our immunity, blood flow and circulation, and stimulate positive thinking. Practicing yoga will also enhance the body/mind connection so we don’t eat when we are not hungry.

Finding new ways to solve your problems and deal with stress will push food out of the equation. You’ll feel good about finding solutions which will replace the dependence on food. You’ll also look good when you lose the weight and your confidence level will shoot through the roof!

If you’ve found ways to successfully overcome emotional eating, please share them with us. There are also related blog posts you will find here with helpful tips and information.
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