Emotional Eating – Finding alternatives to food

We are sometimes under the perception that food gives us companionship, comfort, reassurance, a sense of warmth and well-being that we do not get at work or at home. This ‘comfort’ may be lifelong or it may be more recent, based on life events. For example, with the death of a parent we experience loneliness, and we attempt to soothe that loneliness with food.
There is a void when we perceive a lack of fun, pleasure or good feelings; a sense of something missing, so we search for anything (usually food) to fill that emptiness. Often we are not consciously aware of what is causing the emptiness, so eating is probably the easiest method to provide the pleasant feelings that most activities of daily life don’t offer.
Food is easy; it’s always readily available and doesn’t require the approval or help of anyone else. Viewed from this perspective, eating is probably the most efficient, cost-effective method for nurturing yourself. The unfortunate consequence of this self-nurturing is weight gain which results in depression, self-recrimination and difficulty finding other pleasurable activities.
We must find other things that we like to do, that bring us pleasure. It takes a conscious effort, but we must learn to be aware that food is easy and available, and we are using it to fill emptiness. So, what other things do you like to do?
I think all of us should have a list of enjoyable activities so that we avoid turning to food when we are not hungry. I’ll list a few, but you must have some of your own; I refer to these as “food substitutions.” Of course you want to eat or nibble, but the results (weight gain) override the immediate pleasure of food.
Could you: sing in a choir, ride a bike, go for a walk, take a bath, go for a drive, browse in Chapters, organize your den, start a diary, get a massage, paint a room, go to a show, play a musical instrument, sit quietly and do nothing, play with a pet, dance to some music, do a fitness class or just call a friend on the telephone or contact them via e-mail?
As I said, it takes effort – we will always make excuses NOT to do something. However, we must deflect the mind away from food.
We’ve all experienced the sensation of checking the cupboards for food, and then the telephone rings or someone comes over – we immediately STOP thinking about food. We are ‘no longer hungry’ because our mind is occupied by something else. So, force yourself out of the kitchen and get busy with some activity other than eating.
You can do it. It’s not easy; keep on trying and never give up!
Dr. Doug

2018-07-06T09:12:16+00:00 July 6th, 2018|Motivational Letters|

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