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Do your emotions control your weight?

Author: Dr. Edward Group 05/21/2009

By Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, ND, DACBN, DABFM

Most people eat when they’re hungry, or when they want to experience a new food. However, there are some people who eat because, to them, food is like a pacifier. They eat when they are frustrated, angry, sad, depressed or bored. Behavior like this can often lead to a major eating disorder.

There’s a reason why many of us eat this way. When we were young, we were brainwashed, as it were, into believing that many of the foods we ate were “comfort foods.”, to believe that eating a certain food would make us feel good. Every so often, our friends and families would come together for dinner or an outdoor barbecue to stuff ourselves and have fun.

If you think about it, we celebrate our birthdays, graduations, weddings, and any other social gathering with food. So we automatically associate gorging ourselves with being happy. Or perhaps as a child you were taught to eat to distract yourself from pain. Oops, you fell down and hurt your leg; Mommy will treat you with a nice big bowl of ice cream.
The basic psychology behind this idea is that the eater thinks that food will never reject them nor will it make them feel bad. Food will never turn traitor.

When people trained to make this association experience an emotion, be it stress, sadness, anger, loneliness, boredom or what have you, they are likely to turn to food in order to ease those feelings. But no matter how it may satisfy them initially, it’s only a temporary fix. The end result of which are feeling guilty and frustrated (which lead to further over-eating), and above all else growing fat.

How do I know if I’m an emotional eater?

You know you’re an emotional eater when your first response to any sort of unpleasant emotion is to eat … and eat a lot. Emotional eaters use food as a pacifier to help manage their feelings. Even if those feelings are only a minor discomfort, you will binge. What it does, is take your mind off the problem for a while. But after it’s all said and done, the problem will still be there, along with the additional anguish caused by giving in to the craving. For emotional eaters it’s a roller coaster ride. The real question is, can it be stopped?
The best way to stop is by starting a food journal so you can keep track of what you eat and when. This way you can learn to recognize patterns and make correlations between the emotions you felt and the foods you ate.

After tracking your routine for a while, go back and take a look at your food journal. You should be able to spot a pattern quickly and easily. When you are able to identify what stressors causes you to binge, it will be much easier to confront the emotion itself rather than trying to mask it with food. The best way to fight emotional eating is to tackle the problem head-on!

Other Choices

While writing things down in your journal, make a list of things you can do during those emotional stages instead of eating. For example, if you feel bored, instead of going for food, do a little exercising. This will strengthen your body and make you feel better about yourself.

Learn About Emotions and Hunger

There are many times when it’s difficult to know the difference between a physiological need for food and a psychological want. Real, physical hunger comes on gradually, giving you signs to let you know when it is time to eat – small gurgles followed by large rumbles. At this time you eat more than one kind of food. You eat a variety. But you eat only to satisfy that hunger.

On the other hand, emotional eating comes on suddenly. At the moment you weren’t even thinking about food. But then the next minute you think you are famished. This is not physically based, it is psychologically based. You think you need to eat but you don’t. Your mind plays tricks on you and causes you to eat when your body doesn’t need food.

The best ways to avoid this problem is to wait for 20-30 minutes before you indulge your cravings. During this time, you may realize that you really don’t have a craving, or you may figure out what you really do need and go after that instead. Usually after a few minutes have passed, the cravings will go away and the temptation will be gone.

Another way to combat binging is to schedule your eating patterns throughout the day. Only eat three meals a day, plus two snacks, and stop eating two hours before bedtime. When your body gets use to this schedule, you’re more likely to be hungry at the same time each day.

Make sure you go after the main issues that are causing you to eat when emotions strike. By going after the source of your problem, your eating habits and attitude toward food will change as well.

For all of your weight loss and obesity needs, including natural remedies, tips, products, support forums, the life changing eBook “Ten Super Secrets to Weight Loss” and much more, please visit us at

About the Author

Dr. Edward F. Group III continues to develop, sell and evaluate exclusively high-end natural and organic healthcare products to support a wide range of health conditions. The products we promote are free of toxic tag-along herbicides, insecticides, pesticides, heavy metals, fumigants, irradiation, liver-toxic glues, binders, or gelatin capsules with animal-source risk and toxic preservatives.

Posted In: Weight Loss Resources

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