Diet and Weight-Loss / October 30, 2014

Nutrition Checkup: Emotional Eating

By Charles Platkin, PhD

Behaviors and

————

Medical Checkups. Dental checkups.  Car tune-ups.  Home repairs.  Anything that’s worth taking care of needs periodic maintenance work — sometimes even a whole makeover.   Your nutritional status is no different.   Remember the old adage, “You are what you eat”?

: Check your behaviors

1.      Do you buy clothes that are too small hoping that one day they will fit?
2.      Do you constantly think about food?
3.      When you’re eating, are you already thinking about your next meal?
4.      Do you often find yourself eating in secrecy?
5.      At a restaurant, in the presence of others, do you refrain from ordering a dessert, yet find yourself gorging on a pint of ice cream when you get home?
6.      When you really stop to think, are you living to eat?
7.      At a social event, if you see foods that you know are loaded with fat, do you forgive yourself the indulgence, telling yourself that you can get back on the health wagon tomorrow?
8.      At social gatherings, do you eat to be polite? Do you feel guilty turning down food?
9.      Do you eat your meals anywhere you can (as opposed to eating in specific places, such as the dining room)?
10.     Do you double up on dessert whenever you’re feeling down?
11.     Has food become the means by which you soothe emotional distress? Is it your medicine for anxiety and hurt? Desperation and loneliness?
12.     Has it become your stand-in for human contact?
13.     Do you turn to food as the friend who will always be there for you?

If you answered mostly Yes: Next time you feel a craving, ask yourself these questions before you indulge:
1.      What am I really feeling?
2.      Can I just BE with this feeling?
3.      If I eat this food, or go on this binge, what is it costing me?
4.      What’s really important to me right now?
5.      Is there a better way to take care of myself?
6.      What reward can I give myself right now that won’t cost me my power?
7.      How can I nurture myself right now without hurting myself?
8.      What could I do right now that would make me feel good tomorrow?

Satisfying a craving is associated with immediate pleasure. You can have that pleasure right now, this instant. It doesn’t matter that you may pay for that comfort later; later is later, and now is now. In the mental battle between immediate pleasure and far-off pleasure, the immediate is going to win everytime. Denying yourself is associated with immediate pain. If it’s a choice between avoiding the immediate pain of saying no to that Krispy Kreme doughnut and the long-distance pain of being trapped in a body you don’t like, guess which one wins most of the time? You’ll grab the doughnut and worry about the long-term consequences later.
Surf the Wave: The idea is to come up with other behaviors to focus on in advance so that when the craving comes you can let it ride for 20 to 30 minutes without indulging. Come up with alternatives – like deep breathing, meditating, taking a walk, calling a friend – something you know will make you feel good and pass the time. If you do that, before you know it the craving will pass.
Also, make sure to read the following:  Detective’s Lapse and Relapse Prevention Cheat Sheet: All Dieters Slip Up. Learn What to Do, Part I and Part II:  http://goo.gl/SmXLOD  and http://goo.gl/P6QD0g
Audit: Emotional Eating

How much emotional eating is too much? The answer, simply put, is when it interferes with your health and happiness. Take this quiz to find out if you’re an emotional eater.

1. I try, but fail, to lose weight and keep it off.
a.      almost always
b.      sometimes
c.      rarely

2. I feel that I’m not in control of my eating.
a.      almost always
b.      sometimes
c.      rarely

3. I eat when I’m not hungry.
a.      almost always
b.      sometimes
c.      rarely

4. I turn to food when I’m stressed or upset.
a.      almost always
b.      sometimes
c.      rarely

5. I use food as a source of pleasure or reward.
a.      almost always
b.      sometimes
c.      rarely

6. I think a lot about food.
a.      almost always
b.      sometimes
c.      rarely

7. I have trouble staying on track with weight management.
a.      almost always
b.      sometimes
c.      rarely

8. I binge eat.
a.      almost always
b.      sometimes
c.      rarely

9. I feel ashamed of myself — and of my eating.
a.      almost always
b.      sometimes
c.      rarely

10. Food helps me deal with feelings.
a.      almost always
b.      sometimes
c.      rarely

Score Yourself
If you answered mostly all As, you need to start by reading these articles on emotional eating and breaking patterns:  http://www.dietdetective.com/weekly-column/do-you-have-love-yourself-lose-weight and http://www.dietdetective.com/weekly-column/social-stress-and-weight-gain

If you answered mostly all Bs, you are on track for a healthier lifestyle, but you still need to make some behavioral and emotional adjustments. Try starting with the following:  http://www.dietdetective.com/weekly-column/confidence-lose

If you answered mostly all Cs, great, but you should take the other audits (Parts 1 and 2).


Tags:  audit diet emotional eating




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