February 27, 2023 mdchino

3 Strategies to Separate Emotions and Eating

For most of our clients following a medical weight loss plan, counting calories and learning the ropes at the gym can be the “easy” part. The harder part is addressing the reasons that so many of us overeat in the first place. Often those habits are rooted in emotions, and can be much more difficult to change.

If you feel that you frequently engage in “emotional eating”, or craving certain foods for emotional reasons, learning to separate emotions from physical hunger cues will be key to your medical weight loss success. These three strategies can help.

Pay attention. Many of us eat when we’re stressed, and use both food and screen time to decompress. Often that means zoning out in front of the TV or mindlessly scrolling social media during meals. The problem with this is that you will tend to overeat  during those times, because you’re not paying attention to your food or physical cues. Eat your meals without distractions, and take it slowly. Then you can schedule some screen time.

Give up the perfectionist mindset. If you eat too many cookies in the break room at work, there is no need to give up on the rest of the day. No, the day isn’t “wasted” and you haven’t lost a day of progres toward your goals. You’ve “lost” maybe a few minutes, at most. Get right back on track and eat a healthier dinner.

Ask for help. Always remember that mental health and physical health are closely linked, and one affects the other. Sometimes emotional eating is a bit more than eating some ice cream while feeling stressed. If you feel that you’re truly binge eating, make an appointment with us to discuss the situation. In many cases we will recommend additional counseling with a specialist in this area of behavior.

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