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emotional eating

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Emotional eating is when you eat in response to feelings rather than hunger, usually as a way to suppress or relieve negative emotions. Stress, anxiety, sadness, boredom, anger, loneliness, relationship problems and poor self-esteem can all trigger emotional eating. When emotions determine your eating habits rather than your stomach, it can quickly lead to overeating, weight gain and guilt.

If you find yourself regularly eating in response to emotions, try to break the habit with some of my strategies below.

Learn to recognize your hunger
Before you automatically pop something into your mouth. Rate your hunger on a scale of 1 to 5, 1 being ravenous and 5 being full. Make every effort to avoid eating when you’re a 4 or a 5.

Find alternatives to eating
Prepare a list of activities that are personally appealing and handy. Perhaps go for a walk, call a friend, listen to nostalgic music (anything that brings you back to a happy time), take a hot shower or bath, clean your house, polish your nails, surf the Internet, schedule outstanding appointments, watch something on TiVo, clean your purse, organize your closet, look through a photo album, etc.

Keep a food journal
Logging your food will help to identify your toughest timeframes. It will also make you accountable, so perhaps you’ll be less apt to reach for unnecessary food.

Three-food interference
Make the commitment to first eat three specific healthy foods before starting on comfort foods (i.e., an apple, handful of baby carrots and a nonfat yogurt). If after that, you still want to continue with your comfort foods, give yourself permission. However, most of the time, the three foods are enough to stop you from moving on.

Exercise regularly
Daily exercise relieves stress and puts you in a positive mindset, which provides greater strength to pass on the unhealthy fare.

Get enough sleep
Research shows that sleep deprivation can increase hunger by decreasing leptin levels, the appetite-regulating hormone that signals fullness. Furthermore, with adequate sleep, you’ll be less tired and have more resolve to fight off the urge to grab foods for comfort.

Joy Bauer is the author of “Food Cures.” For more information on healthy eating, check out Joy’s Web site at

© 2007 MSNBC Interactive


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MODEL_BEHAVIOR 12/10/2007 10:48AM

    Yeah, I certainly am. Its probably the only reason I have to eat anything. I don't think I ever allow myself to get to the point of being physically hungry, and I know that is part of my problem.

What things help you, if any?

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BBW_RAVEN 12/9/2007 10:53PM

    I'm an emotional eater.
I hate it!!

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Day Two-ish

Sunday, December 09, 2007

For breakfast this morning, I did not have the thing I most crave: a bagel with egg whites and cheese. Its so heavy and, in a way, satisfying, but it also leaves me feeling heavy and weighed down. Today instead I had cranberry oatmeal from Trader Joe's, which I watered down a little to see if that would give it more volume in my stomach (haha). I added to it a tiny bit of bluberry and flax seeds ground up (something sitting in my freezer, again from Trader Joe's), and a tiny banana. I was so full, and it had much much more nutrition than if I had made a run down to the Bagel Factory (not kidding--that's what its called).

Next, instead of coffee, I tried drinking two hot cups of green/mint tea. I didn't get a caffeine headache, so it must have been a decent substitute.

My roommate and I then headed out for a long walk to the Post Office and around the neighborhood to check out the progress on a gym that's opening in February... and then to a book sale and Christmas Bazaar in a local church about five blocks away. I worked up a sweat, but who knows if that's because I was bundled up too much for the mildly cold weather.

I have a lot to get done today. Usually on a weekend I will give in to my laziness and watch TV, sit on the internet, or play video games (I know I need to grow up), but today I am going to attack my To Do list and only allow myself to veg out if I finish everything.

Wish me luck!


I'm baaaack.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Hello, December.

Things that are different this time:

* I have a new job that is more enojyable and creatively satisfying to me. Helps when I'm not distracted by being miserable about those factors. Its still stressful sometimes, but its a job that I can see myself settling down into and keeping at for a long couple of years.

* I have finished moving everything out of my parents' house and up into our aparment so that I can go through it, sell things and get rid of the junk. "Realize that over crowding your life with 'stuff' and over eating both lead to unhappiness."

Essentially, the junk I own is "clogging" up my life, and making it easier to fill my lifestyle with other unhealthy factors (junk food! lazy habits! procrastination, you devil, you!) I have dual goals of losing weight and getting rid of other garbage in my life at the same time. This should be very interesting for me. (The stuff is vintage clothing and all kinds of books and junk that I've collected--I would like to sell it on eBay to help me with my financial goals.)

* I have a set financial goal for MAY 2008, at which point I will have paid off my car and all of my credit cards. I made an Excel spreadsheet of a budget and credit card payments to prove it to myself.

This is a REALLY big deal for me. .. I'm becoming an adult that can truly support herself and after May, I will be much more free financially to start saving up and having goals that are a step forward in life. I'm so used to dwelling in debt that this is going to be completely amazing. I want to be healthier when I get to that point, and I want to have more energy and a better focus on making good decisions going forward.

* My boyfriend is graduating from grad school in May 2008, as well, and his completion of that goal is a good motivator for me to set my own in this way.

Let's do this together.

*** I want to be able to:

Perform on stage and not feel like I look obese.
Shrink my upper arms, waist and thighs.
Fit into smaller sizes of clothing: Fashion is such a strong motivator for me!
Feel happy if someone wants to take a picture of me!


Breaking the world's control over your emotions

Monday, July 23, 2007

Taken from a SparkPeople mail message from over the weekend. Pasting it here because its something that I have had to learn and continue to learn as time goes on.


The greatest day in your life and mine is when we take total responsibility for our attitudes. That's the day we truly grow up.

- John Maxwell, author and public speaker

A lot in our past can be chalked up to inexperience, youth, and happenstance. But now, as an adult, you must claim your choices and their consequences as your own. Negative attitudes affect your life by creating cynicism, a pessimistic outlook, and often a lack of confidence. Take note of the ways you are escaping responsibility for your attitude. Do you continually blame situations, friends and family, or life in general for your poor mindset? The world has influence, without a doubt, but growing into a mature person means taking control of your emotions and attitude. Own them!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

O_DEANNA 7/25/2007 4:47PM

    Thanks for posting this. I wish I could remember this when I start feeling out-of-control angry and helpless. Every moment is a new start.

Good to see you posting again. :)

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Monday, April 23, 2007

oh my goodness i have been really really busy lately.

i *think* i am doing okay on the eating. i also walked from one end of my town to the other the other day, and kept walking on about two hours total. this weather is awesome!


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