Emotional Eating Disorder

Emotional eating disorder is simply consuming food to comfort an undesired emotion. Someone trying to overcome this problem wants to know how to control emotional eating. There are many ways to safely and effectively accomplish this. Before anything else, a person must realize the problem and why the problem exists. Food consumption out of emotion can also be linked to other disorders such as binging. All problems related to food stem from some sort of emotional distress. In fact, doctors believe at least 75% of consumption problems occur due to emotional triggers. Simple changes will get a person closer to a healthy, balanced life. Support from family and medical professionals will aid in identifying the most successful plan toward overall health including supplements and exercise.

Identifying whether or not the way in which food is being consumed is a problem can easily be examined by paying attention to the reason. If food consumption happens because of stress, anxiety, depression, boredom, loneliness, or anger then an eating disorder needs to be addressed. It may sound like most reasons for eating happen due to these issues, but really think about the real reason. Sometimes this type of disorder is misdiagnosed as simply a deficiency in the person's diet. Keep a food diary to make certain of the real problem. Other clues that someone has an emotional eating disorder include reduced memory, anxiety around mealtime, and guilt. Once the problem is discovered learning how to control emotional eating is the next step. Small steps include adding small healthy snacks throughout the day and planned meals to make an easier transition.

Many people fall into the trap of unbalanced diets due to workload, family stress, or simply the stress society puts on people to be thin. Eliminating those triggers is the first step in how to control emotional eating. Alternative activities should be set into place to distract or teach a person to live healthier. Examples include walking, reading, a hobby, talk to a friend, volunteer, and listening to music. Sometimes learning how to control emotional eating isn't enough and meditation or prayer is necessary. Don't expect to solve the whole problem overnight. Simple, realistic steps should be put into play with the realization that failure may happen. When someone goes away from the plan it is important to start right back up and try again. Creating a support system including family, friends, and anyone who is or has gone through the same issue is important for success. "Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle's." (Psalm 103:5) A person can learn new techniques by talking with someone experienced.

Understanding the cause may not be caused by the person with the problem is important to realize. Hereditary genes as well as physical dispositions caused by other diseases may put someone at a disposition towards altered food consumption habits. A person can learn how to control emotional eating by evaluating one's parents and siblings. Emotional eating disorders may simply be a cover-up for a more serious health problem such as extreme food allergy or even cancer. Simple blood tests may reveal the underlying problem, but further more extensive testing may be needed. Problems such as Celiac Disease may be a factor. Food elimination and keeping a diary can indicate whether certain foods cause medical problems as well as other food consumption problems.

Proper nutrition is the key to a lasting healthy lifestyle. Overcoming an emotional eating disorder is difficult, but proper nutrition aids in setting the stage for success. A nutritionist is a great place to start when developing new habits. This person will be able to identify where there are holes in the diet or imbalances in order to create the best platform for success. Be realistic with the amount of time it takes to prepare meals and the cost of truly nutritious meals. A $1.00 soda is much different than a $3.50 balanced meal. If cost is an issue then meet with a financial planner to aid in a plan that will allow for proper nutrition. The cost of doctors visits, drugs, and hospital stays results from the improper care of a food consumption disorder are significantly more monetarily and emotionally that spending a little more on a balanced diet. A strong support system is essential to overcome the issue that causes an emotional eating disorder. Understanding why the insecurities exist will enable a person to more successfully overcome the problem.

Careful evaluation of life's stresses and what activities are truly enjoyable and required is a great way to identify what can be cut out of a persons life in order to overcome insecurity and stress related problems. Sometimes an emotional eating disorder occurs in conjunction with volunteering in too many areas, working too hard, not feeling adequate to pay the bills. The solution is not always simple and may take a long time, but the result is worth it. Careful management of stress may include a reasonable, but regular exercise program possibly at a scheduled class to ensure attendance. Anyone with stress or self-esteem related issues most likely needs structure at least initially to succeed in a treatment program. Eliminating unneeded tasks and responsibilities is a reasonable starting point toward success. Find ways to boost self-esteem and find structure in all areas of life to get a sense of comfort and motivation to provide a platform for a healthier lifestyle.

How To Control Emotional Eating

Binge eaters may learn how to control emotional eating through psychological counseling and reprogramming self-image attitudes. There are three major reasons why individuals choose to eat compulsively: a genetic predisposition, negative personal experiences, and cultural factors, such as a negative body image. Men and women who battle eating disorders either indulge in consuming large quantities at a single setting, or binge, regurgitate, and then starve themselves to keep from gaining weight. Some individuals may overeat in times of emotional stress, fatigue, or out of boredom. While some are genetically predisposed to overeating, such as obese children of obese parents; many binge eaters struggle with compulsive eating because of emotional triggers. Negative personal experiences, such as sexual abuse, feelings of anxiety because of overbearing parents, or a fear of failure are all pressure points which can push an individual off the edge into consuming food with wild abandon. Regardless of the reason for overeating, food becomes friend and foe. "Be not windbibbers; among riotous eaters of flesh: For the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty: and drowsiness shall clothe a man with rags" (Proverbs 23:20-21).

Teens who have a habit of consuming gallons of ice cream while sulking after being dumped by a boyfriend, or adults wolfing down large pizzas because of feelings of low self-esteem need to learn how to control emotional eating before it can escalate into a compulsive behavior. Many people learn to equate good food with good feelings or a self-imposed system of punishment and reward. Parents often coax children to "eat all of your food" in order to win extra play time or a new toy. Obedience is rewarded with two cookies instead of one. And birthdays and holidays are joyous occasions celebrated with copious amounts of home baked goodies. Eventually, children learn that a favorite food is the key to emotional contentment. So-called "comfort" foods, such as high-carb cakes, cookies, pies, or candy evoke pleasant memories while adding additional pounds. Each time an individual experiences disappointment, depression, grief, or heartache, the answer is a special treat of chocolate cake or an ice cream sundae to soothe hurt feelings.

Once a pattern is established of rewarding or soothing oneself by indulging in high-calorie sweets or snacks, it becomes increasingly difficult to diet or abstain from foods which bring comfort, but also add extra weight. The more individuals indulge, the more pounds they gain. And the more pounds gained, the greater the shame, loss of self-confidence and guilt for not knowing how to control emotional eating and maintain a safe and healthy weight. Men and women who battle compulsive eating disorders may become social outcasts, experiencing feelings of worthlessness based on a world view which advocates pencil thin limbs and non-existent abs. Because of a negative body image, obese individuals continue to plummet into self-pity and excessive eating. Hoarding food and eating in private become favorite pastimes, which only add more guilt and shame. Some individuals become obsessed and preoccupied with consuming high-calorie foods, rather than engaging in activities which focus attention on obesity.

Another group of emotional over-eaters may include low-income single mothers burdened with the responsibility of caring for young children without the ability to buy healthy, high-priced foods. Mothers living on subsistence may feel resigned to eating poorly and gaining more weight. Some may know how to control emotional eating, but limited funds prohibit exercising healthy habits. Many are aware that high-calorie processed meats, white bread, and soft drinks lack nutrition; however higher quality products may be cost-prohibitive on a fixed income. Single unemployed parents are also constantly concerned about providing food for the children. Consequently, they may neglect their own health and settle for eating empty calories, such as cookies, cakes, snacks and soft drinks.

The solution is not an easy one. Obese binge eaters or anorexic teens that binge and purge need professional help from a physician, dietitian or nutritionist qualified to address underlying causes of food disorders. Psychologists may be able to help overweight or undernourished men and women discover how to control emotional eating by delving into past personal experiences or cultural factors which may have initially triggered overeating, binging or bulimia. Childhood memories of being rewarded for good behavior, childhood or adolescent sexual abuse, negative self-perception resulting from constant parental criticism, or becoming the brunt of a bully's wrath or cruel taunts are all personal experiences which may contribute to out-of-control eating.

For bulimics and binge-and-purge eaters, doctors may have to convince them that having a little body fat is healthy and attractive. The media and the fashion industry have done young girls a disservice by promoting the notion that "thin is in" and that any female with curves needs to enroll in a fat farm. Young teens that starve themselves to fit into size two jeans need to learn how to control emotional eating and accept the fact that a genetic disposition for a fuller frame is healthy. Women from certain ethnic groups pride themselves on having larger hips, legs and a little "meat" on the bones. Cultural factors which help frame one's self perception may also have to be addressed as patients learn how to control emotional eating.

Nutritionists can work with individual patients to develop healthy food plans which increase metabolism and create a sense of well being. Patients will learn how to control emotional eating by adhering to a customized diet and exercise plan. Psychologists may suggest replacing certain emotional triggers with activities which divert a patient's attention from comfort foods to comfortable situations. Talking candidly in group therapy sessions about emotional hurts, disappointments and discouragement, rather than covering them over in a hot fudge sundae may also serve to reprogram patients. A prolonged program of behavior therapy, personalized nutrition, and structured activities can enable obese or underweight individuals with food disorders learn how to better cope with emotions and cease to equate feelings with food.

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