Hello Health and Lifestyle VIPs!
It’s, Dr. Bernadette, your friendly informative family medicine physician. I am thrilled to start the year positioning you to become a champion of your own health, healing and happiness. And also, putting you back in charge of your life to reclaim your passion. Since many of us rang in the new year making resolutions to lose weight, this is an ideal time for me to share my emotional struggle with obesity––I confess, I was an emotional eater.
Being overweight can be a sign or symptom of something much deeper. Because, for the most part, food is an acceptable vice, we gravitate toward it in order to soothe negative emotions. Eating––or rather overeating––offers a temporary escape from life’s disappointments. If you do not consciously untie your emotions from food, you can become entangled in an unhealthy cycle of emotional eating, I did. And, it segued into me staring at a scale that stood out like a marque as I weighed in at over 300 pound!
“Gluttony is an emotional escape, a sign something is eating us.”~Peter De Vries
My eating had little to do with being hungry. I ate because of…hurts, loneliness, feeling unimportant in my own life, overwhelming concerns, success not feeling like success. Food was my scapegoat. It distracted me from what was eating me.
Are you trying to lift issues weighing you down with a fork? Simply because you are not overweight or obese, does not mean the answer is ‘no.’ The litmus test is: Eating more with increase stress or eating when you are not physically hungry. Another sign is craving specific foods to feed emotions. My favorite was ice cream. Mindless eating may be your alarm. Two slices of pizza took away the hunger, but you ate the entire pizza. Lastly, feeling guilty about overeating. But, the remorse does not outweigh the comfort of emotional eating.
How do you stop your emotions from showing up on the scale? First, admit and address what is truly weighing you down. Acknowledge your emotions, understand their roots and give yourself permission to heal. Forgive yourself and others. Release hurts and refuse to make them obstacles. Replace emotional eating with new habits that make you feel better. Be aware of emotional triggers. Limit exposure to those things that set your fork in motion. Avoid having go-to-foods easily accessible. I agree that curbing your emotional appetite is difficult, but it is most rewarding––it’s long awaited freedom.
Losing weight can be more complex than the right diet and exercise routine. Eating more when faced with increase stress is a telltale sign you have hitched your emotions to your fork. To prevent emotional eating from expanding your waistline, identify your triggers and limit your exposure to them. Foremost, stop feeding your emotions.
Visit my blog weekly for more tips to improve your health, heal your sprit and increase your happiness.
Goodbye for now.
Bernadette Anderson, M.D., M.P.H. has devoted the past 20 years to developing, teaching and educating others on the principals of health and lifestyle transformation. Having successfully lost 140 pounds herself, her approach is to provide simple tools to allow people to be champions of their own healing, health and happiness. She is the founder of Faith Family Health, Inc., a speaker, an author and has appeared on national commercials.Visit her at www.DrBernadetteMD.com today!