Many patients of ours describe themselves as an “emotional eater”, which can ultimately influence their success in their weight loss journey. It can be difficult to control emotional eating habits, so if you’re an emotional eater – you are not alone in how you feel. Don’t lose hope, because there are strategies and tools that we can give you so that you can get back in control of your lifestyle.

What does it actually mean to be an emotional eater? People who consider themselves to be an emotional eater may find themselves eating larger quantities or junk foods to cope with how they are feeling emotionally – whether that may be stressed, flat, sad, disappointed or angry. On top of that, some people even find themselves eating to celebrate or when they’re feeling particularly happy. Any mood on the broad spectrum can lead to unhealthy habits.

Emotional eating is more than simply often having a tendency to feel hungry throughout the day – that’s just what we call ‘life’.

It could mean binge eating as a way to comfort ourselves in times of stress – but it can quickly turn into a viscous cycle. If you’re upset and you indulge in some chocolate as a result,  you might find that you end up feeling even worse afterwards. You might question why you ate the chocolate, experience feelings of guilt and perhaps even self-criticism and loathing. These sorts of thoughts and feelings are commonly experienced by emotional eaters.

So how can our doctors help emotional eaters at Alevia?

We have one key factor in our approach to handling emotional eating at Alevia – COMPASSION. We don’t think its productive or useful to be self critical or judgemental. We will never shame you for slipping up or eating to cope with your emotions. We are here to give you the strategies to cope with stressful (or happy) times without turning to binge eating.

We will encourage you to view emotional eating to be simply a “lapse” in your journey – you might be momentarily going off track, but it doesn’t mean you have to entirely throw in the towel and give up on working towards your health goals. Everyone will experience slip ups from time to time – it is our job to show you how you can handle those moments without totally derailing your weight loss journey. In those times, we will always emphasise the importance of self-love and forgiveness.

Our doctors will show you how it CAN be possible to manage your emotional eating habits, once and for all, so that you can regain control of your life. But it’s most important to remember that you’re only human and you may slip up from time to time. The real skill is being able to pick yourself up and get yourself back on track with our support.

Check out Dr Julie Chang’s video on mindfulness in eating. This can be a very helpful strategy to battle emotional eating habits.

7 December, 2019

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