Are you an emotional eater?
Emotional eating is one of those things that creep up on us. One day we are taking good care of ourselves eating healthy, maybe exercising, the next moment something sets us off and we are eating everything or anything not nailed down. We know what we’d like to do; we just can’t seem to do it. Here are some signs that you are involved with emotional eating too frequently.
1. Do you tend to over eat certain types of food over and over again? When something throws us off or it’s a certain time of the day or event, we end up going to our staple foods. We all have our go-to foods, but for us, it becomes mind less eating. We look forward to the first few bites, but then it becomes this mechanical eating; we don’t even remember ingesting most of it. But, it’s gone off the table and chances are we are the only one there.
2. Do you find when you have a bite of certain foods; you’re eating goes out of control? You know those foods, the ones that if we start with them, then we are in trouble. We know we are better off having nothing, than having something, because just that first taste will set us off and running in circles with the food. What do I eat next? We start obsessing about the food, should I have it should I not, leading up to the first bite. When we finally cave in to having it, we truly enjoy it for the first moment and then the guilt washes over us, but we keep on going.
3. Many days after school, work, or the days outing, I come home and go directly to the refrigerator. We don’t even think about it, before we turn around we are inhaling whatever is the closest thing in the cabinet or refrigerator. It has become such an automatic behavior, we are not even aware of what we are doing, until we are knee deep in snack foods.
4. Do you find after you lose weight and receive compliments or attention, you start to regain weight back? We are constantly asking ourselves why. Why can’t we just appreciate feeling good? Do we feel unworthy or not entitled to feel good? Or is the need for it serving so much more powerful then caring about how we feel about ourselves and our food choices.
5. Do you feel like you’ve been around this food merry go round so many times that you are afraid you will never lose your excess weight? Most of us that have been engaged in emotional eating have been on this cycle for so long, it’s hard to even approach it one more time. Each time we try it becomes harder and harder, and our successes becomes more short lived and we are right back to the food again.
If this sounds like you, you are not alone. Many of us feel very isolated that we don’t have someone to talk to or that really understands. People just seem to say, can’t you just put down the cake or go for a run. They don’t really get what we are going through. Being overweight and being involved in emotional eating are not the same thing. For an emotional eater the weight is just a byproduct of unhealthy thinking patterns. If you would like to shift you’re though process and you would like to learn how to break out of this cycle, you are in the right place.
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10 Practical Tips on How to Stop Binge Eating
As a former binge eater, I had tried it all. I knew how I wanted to approach food, but every time I would try to get a handle on my overeating I would end up back in the diet/binge cycle. Over years, I started making some changes to my food and thought process that significantly changed my reaching for food when I would feel stressed or anxious. I liked to share my top 10 tools on how to stop binge eating that truly helped turn my life around.
- How to Set Yourself Up for Success. Learn how to approach food in a healthy manner, not on a diet, not feeling like your holding your breath to get to the next meal, and not in a way that will set you up for obsessively thinking about the next opportunity to eat.
We’ve heard it before, but are you doing it? Eat frequently throughout the day. It starts with the basics, of eating good combinations of fruits and vegetables, healthy proteins and carbs every 3 hours. If you go too long without eating you will set yourself up to overeat and feel out of control, feel like you don’t know how to stop binge eating. So set yourself up for success and eat good quality fuel every few hours.
- Plan. Plan. Keep healthy food available for the full day. If you don’t have good quality food on hand, you will end up turning to whatever junk is nearby. Just like you wouldn’t send your kids to school without a game plan to eat, you need to have your game plan. You wouldn’t show up to a meeting without your report or presentation materials, you have to be well fed before you go in, and if it’s going to be awhile, bring something with you so you can last the duration. We are much better off when we have good fuel in our system. When clients ask how to stop binge eating, the best tool I share is to have a food game plan.
- What are you saying to yourself: How we communicate with our selves will affect how we feel, how we handle life challenges, and what ends up showing up in our lives. We can be our own best friend or our own worst enemy. If your internal communications aren’t serving you, then you need to learn how to shift them to helpful resourceful communications.
- Meet Your Personal Needs: A lot of times we don’t even know what are needs are. We are so busy taking care of everyone and everything else that we end up last in our own lives. We then end up rebelling and turning to the food and end up binge eating to meet our personal needs. So learn to identify what is going on in your emotional life and how you can support yourself as you handle it. If you don’t know how to handle the situation, that’s when you need the support even more. So learn to truly be your own best friend.
- Create a Balance Life: Many times we let work or kids, or parents needs overshadow the other important parts of our life that they get crowded out. We stop focusing in or prioritizing time for ourselves, exercise, eating well, time with friends, socialization, or self-care. We then start to feel bad about ourselves. We need to take charge and reprioritize our time and energy. Pull out your calendar and schedule fun and exercise, just like you would anything else that makes it to your to do list or calendar.
- Problem Solving Skills: Learning how to overcome challenging situations and people are key to managing a healthy life. If we don’t have healthy boundaries, it is very easy to get overrun by other’s needs. If you are not sure how to solve an issue, start utilizing your resources, which can help. Think outside the box, research it, talk to friends or knowledgeable people in the area you need help in and then pick a direction. The key is don’t stay stuck. Try an idea if it works great, if it doesn’t move on to the next idea. If we do nothing for too long, we end up feeling bad about ourselves and lack of control and many times turn to food. When we don’t know how to stop binge eating or don’t feel good about other areas of our lives, building our problem solving skills and resources are the key to success.
- Develop a strong sense of self confidence and self-esteem. We want to feel good about ourselves unconditionally. Even if things aren’t the way we would like them to be, we can still feel good about who we are today and the direction we are moving in. Feeling good about ourselves and feeling whole and complete, allows us to make the best decision we can in the moment.
- Stop Self Sabotaging Behavior: If we beat ourselves up emotionally when we get hit with life challenges or are not sure how to stop binging, fix things in life or make them right, we end up spiraling down and feeling even worse. If you recognize that you have patterns in your life that are showing up over and over again that aren’t serving you, it’s time to shift your thought process and let go of the thoughts that are taking you down that path and shift them to a healthier approach.
- Create Health Boundaries with Family/Friends/Work. Learning to say “No” is a tough one for many of us people pleasers. We like to make everything right or perfect for everyone, and then we end up sacrificing ourselves and end up turning to the food. Determining your own limits of what you can manage comfortable is important, but feeling comfortable sharing it with others is even more important. So you can stand up to yourself, even when others push back or try and put their agenda or needs onto you. Learn to prioritize yourself, they may be sad or strike out, when you first start setting boundaries, but in the long run, you will be healthier and you will develop healthier relationships. If people can’t respect your needs, then maybe you need to revisit how much time and energy you put into the relationship.
- Learn to Be Your Own Best Friend: Learning to be our own cheerleader and support system will set us up to feel better when you get hit with the daily ups and downs. Visualize a big bright white light surrounding and supporting you.
These steps are really big tools that will have significant change in your life and approach to food. If you would like more ideas on how to stop binge eating feel free to touch base and ask for help. We are a community that works together and helps others break free of emotional overeating, binging, yo-yo dieting and just constantly making poor food choices. We are a safe, discreet environment, where you will get positive results. The Hungry Heart is an 8 session systematic process that helps clients overcome their issues with food. If you are ready to end your battle with food and feel good about yourself, then click the link below and let’s get started.
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Are you an Impulse Eater? True/False
- Do you eat large amounts of food very fast in a short amount of time?
- Do you eat desserts or leftovers, even if you feel full?
- Do you sneak or hide food occasionally?
- Do you eat when your day if your day is stressful?
- Do you feel the need to eat most of the time?
- Do you give into cravings for certain foods and then overeat?
- Is your typical meal last less than 15 minutes?
- Do you usually NOT leave food on your plate?
- Even if you are not hungry, if good food is available, do you eat large amounts?
- Do you typically multi task while eating?
- Do you eat in several rooms in your house?
- Do you skip chewing food completely before swallowing?
- Do you eat too much after dinner?
Impulse Eating Behaviors Include:
Eating too much or too fast
Eating leftovers or dessert when full
Eating sweet, high-fat food as a regular habit
Hiding or sneaking food
Overeating and eating beyond being full
If you like the food, you will finish what’s on your plate regardless if you are full
Eating in locations other than the kitchen or dining room table
Your activities always seem to center around food
Night time eating
Tools to Overcome Impulse Eating:
1. Create a New Habit: If you are feeling stressed or anxious and are thinking about food, you need to create a new habit. It will accomplish two goals, one remove your focus on the food and two get you involved in another activity. So instead of eating the cake on the counter when you come home from a stressful day, why not go straight to taking a shower, calling a friend, go for a walk, join a group, read a book, or play tennis. If you get involved in an activity that you would enjoy, then your day just continues and food is fuel so you can enjoy your next activity and have something to look forward to.
2. Set Yourself Up for Success Before Urges Hit: If you know you are always looking for sweets at 3pm in the afternoon, or when a vendor brings junk food in and leaves in the lunch room, you feel it calling your name, set yourself up for success beforehand. Eat healthy sweets that will meet your need, before that craving or situation surface. By doing so your blood sugar will level out and when you are presented with the sweets it won’t be calling your name. You will be able to skip without trying. Before I would take my kids to a birthday party, I would always have a hot chocolate or give my kids organic ice cream, the reason is when we go to the party, all the junk food and desserts wouldn’t be calling us. Our need for sugar and fat were already met. We didn’t’ feel deprived and we could concentrate on the people and the fun without a second thought.
3. Don’t Go too Long without Eating: If we go too long without eating, many times it sets us up to eat quickly, and overeat. We will make poor food choices if we are starving. Eat every 3 hours so you keep your energy up and you are never too hungry this way you aren’t as likely to feel out of control and overeat. Also take time to sit down, relax and enjoy your food. Appreciate your time to eat and that you are nourishing your body. By slowing down while you eat, it puts you in a different space then the rushing around we may be doing to get things done.
You are worth taking care of. What change are you willing to make today? Learn more about our program here.
Basic Weight Gaining Behaviors:
You may be surprised how they add up
3500 extra calories = 1 pound
Nighttime Eating 5x a week
270 calories per snack time
Weekly calorie intake: 1350 extra calories
Annual calorie intake: 70,200 extra calories
Potential annual weight gain: 20 pounds
Snacking w/television 5 hours a week
135 calories per snack
Weekly calorie intake: 680 extra calories
Annual calorie intake: 35,360 extra calories
Potential annual weight gain: 10 pounds
Bingeing twice a week
1000-3000 calories per binge
Weekly calorie intake: 2-6000 extra calories
Annual calorie intake: 104 to 312,000 extra calories
Potential annual weight gain: 30-90 pounds
Drinking 3 Beers once a week
146 calories per beer
Weekly calorie intake: 438 extra calories
Annual calorie intake: 22,726 extra calories
Potential annual weight gain: 6.5 pounds
Snacking on potato chips 5x week
150 calories per serving
Weekly calorie intake: 750 extra calories
Annual calorie intake: 39000 extra calories
Potential annual weight gain: 11 pounds
Eating a large bagel 3x a week
Weekly calorie intake: 969 extra calories
Annual calorie intake: 50,388 extra calories
Potential annual weight gain: 14 pounds
Habitual Overeating Daily
Weekly calorie intake: 2600 extra calories
Annual calorie intake: 138,320 extra calories
Potential annual weight gain: 40 pounds
Eating second Helpings 3x a week
Weekly calorie intake: 600 extra calories
Annual calorie intake: 31,200 extra calories
Potential annual weight gain: 9 pounds
Drinking 1 Glass of Wine 5x a week
100 calories a glass
Weekly calorie intake: 500 extra calories
Annual calorie intake: 26,000 extra calories
Potential annual weight gain: 8 pounds
Calories Add Weight: Subtle Daily Gains
Take a look at your habitual behaviors and see how it’s affecting your weight. What would you be willing to do differently? It’s amazing how making one change could make such a significant difference. Instead of drinking a glass of wine in the evening could you make yourself some herbal tea? If you are having trouble letting go of some of these sabotaging behaviors and would like some tools and tips on how to make lifestyle changes when it comes to food, click here to gain access to our proven program on how to change your relationship with food once and for all.
Many of us, it seems have gone to war with our own bodies and minds by constantly putting ourselves through a never ending cycle of fad diets; dropping weight, then under stress or facing any of life’s many challenges, we “fall off the wagon” and binge, gaining back the weight and more. We may or may not be overweight or have an actual “eating disorder” but we just don’t seem to make healthy choices at times that make the difference between successful change and dismal failure and guilt.
When our expectations don’t meet our reality in life, our subconscious minds send us directly to the food. The food provides a temporary distraction from the discomforts of our lives. Food becomes a substitute for self-nurturing or self-caring behavior, a reward for a job well done, or a way to relieve stress, boredom and anxiety. Our subconscious mind attempts to meet our emotional needs.
We try to get a hold of the situation, but the harder we try, the more desperate we feel. Food becomes an overwhelming thought. One week we’re eating everything in sight, and the next week, we’re starving ourselves to lose the extra pounds we just gained. We then harshly judge the lack of control we have over food and obsess about what we will or will not eat next. We are right back to the problem with our physical body and unmet emotional needs. This yo-yo dieting destroys our self-esteem, quality of life, and takes a toll on our body.
End The Battle With Out Of Control Eating!
The first step to break out of this vicious cycle is to learn how to become our own best friend. As long as we need food as a tool to deal with emotional issues in our life, it doesn’t matter what plan or program we are on, we will eventually return to the food because we need it. Dieting has disconnected us from our natural ability to know what our body needs, fostering our unhealthy relationship with food.
Let go of the self-sabotage and negative internal dialogue. Tackle the root issues that established your relationship with food long ago by retraining your mind to accept who you are without judgment or criticism. You can move past your preoccupation with eating and weight loss and move towards a more rewarding satisfying life. You can enjoy the eating the foods you love without feeling guilty or gaining eight.
Give yourself the same love and attention that you give those you care about. Take time for yourself, listen to what your needs are and meet them. Put yourself first on your priority list. As hard as they may sound at first, if we don’t take care of ourselves, we won’t have the resources necessary to take care of all the other aspects of our lives and the overeating will continue.
There is no benefit to eating and then feeling guilty because if will only lead to further overeating. So if you choose to eat something enjoy it and let it go! Most importantly, treat yourself with love and respect to reach a place of inner peace so you can lose those painful pounds naturally and permanently. If you have any questions on how to take the steps to break out of this cycle, you can call the Hungry Heart toll free 877-HUNGRY-7 (877-486-4797) or go to our website thehungryheart.org for free tool and tips on how to get started.
I first realized I had a problem with food at about the age of eleven. My parents divorced when I was three. The yo yoing between families put me under a tremendous amount of stress. I found myself eating more when I would go to my dad’s house. The environment there was unwelcoming to say the least. I would hide food, sneak food and overeat when I was there. I found that when I came home to my mom’s house my problem would continue. I taught myself to self-love with the food. It was my entertainment, my friend and my parent. As an adolescent I struggled with my weight. I was about ten to twenty pounds more than my friends. Those extra pounds made me want to diet. My mom was a self-confessed calorie counter and helped me to do the math on all my food. I worked out and counted calories. I would lose some weight, but of course I would gain it back. I tried the cabbage soup diet (yuck). The hotdog and grapefruit diet, lean cuisine, slim fast, etc. All those worked short term with a result of a few extra pounds on top of the original weight I wanted to lose.
Emotional Overeating: My Road to Weight Loss Sanity
Finally I felt it was time for some professional help. I tried Jenny Craig and I lost twenty pounds. The minute I went off the terrible frozen food, I gained the weight back. Then I tried Weight Watchers (it had worked for my friends), same end result. I felt like a complete failure. In turn my eating became more out of control. I decided I wanted to get off this roller-coaster of self-destruction. One day I was reading Orange Coast Magazine and saw an ad for feeding the Hungry Heart. I thought what the heck. I’ll give it a shot. I have to say I was skeptical even though my mother had hypnotized me for a sleeping problem as a child. It sounded scary to have someone I didn’t know or trust yet do it. When I finished the first session, I felt energized and hopeful that I could overcome my fears of trying another way of dealing with my problems. After a few sessions I became aware of how and when I eat. I started asking myself “are you really hungry?” or “are you upset, frustrated or sad?’ This was huge for me! I knew I ate for those reasons but I chose to ignore it. I chose to ignore my own feelings like I didn’t have time for them. My sessions with Lauren were very emotional. I wasn’t use to talking about my fear of losing weight. Through time, I realized that by confronting my fears, taking time to understand and feel my feelings I can make a lifelong change in the way I approach food. I’m not at my idea body weight yet, but I feel my mind is healthier than ever. Lauren taught me to make healthy food choices and freed me from the destructive cycle of binge eating. She taught me to have confidence in myself no matter what the scale says. The weight loss was just an extra perk, gaining my sanity was the real gift.