Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Why Can’t I Stop Overeating?

A change in eating habits can be a positive experience; however, if we’re not careful the process can quickly devolve into toxic thinking. This is especially true for those of us who struggle with food and are looking for surefire weight loss solutions.
It usually begins with food labels. Now, we’re not talking about nutrition information in this case, rather the labels we apply to certain types of food such as kale versus cookies.

Labeling foods as "good" and "bad" is a guaranteed way to increase stress and create negative associations with eating. The second you label a food “bad”, you begin to think about it in a new light. You may develop a fear of the food or an obsession with it. The food will suddenly claim more of your emotional energy and you will spend more time thinking about it than you usually might. Worse, because it’s off limits, you’ll likely want it even more, and if you decide to give in and let yourself enjoy the ‘forbidden fruit’, your enjoyment will be short-lived and quickly replaced by guilt and feelings of failure.
When foods get labels and start having moral implications, it’s more difficult to make healthy choices and recover from perceived failures. Toxic diet beliefs come in many forms:

  • Elimination (ie. no more sugar, no more pasta)
  • Needing to excuse our choices to others
  • Equating body weight to health
  • Atoning with exercise
  • Cleanses & detoxes
  • Guilty pleasures
  • Earning food
  • Cheat days

Deprived Binge Eating

If you're trying to better your habits after bariatric surgery or you are on a restrictive diet to avoid the procedure, you're a likely candidate for binge eating. In many cases, binge eating is a biological response to food deprivation - whether you've deprived yourself physically by eliminating food or emotionally through toxic thinking.
The more you deprive yourself of your favorite foods, the stronger the urge for binging that food becomes; once the binge occurs, a new cycle begins and we immediately begin to set ourselves up again for subsequent failure.

At Bariatric Health & Wellness, we offer a wide range of foods, from complete meals to sweet and savory snacks. We know that in order for a long term strategy to be effective, people like yourself need easy and affordable access to foods they actually enjoy. That includes crunchy cheese bites, creamy chicken dishes and moist chocolate chip cookies, among many options. With foods designed to keep up with your caloric means while still meeting your tastebuds' demands, you'll be more likely to succeed and break the cycle of restriction and binge eating!

Emotional Binging or Just Emotional Eating?

It's been a long day at work or at home with the kids; it doesn't matter if you're stressed, annoyed or overwhelmed, there's a voice in the back of your head that lets you know some drive-through, a pint or a big batch of freshly baked Toll House cookies will set things right again.
While it's not uncommon or inherently bad to let food soothe us on occasion, making these choices on a regular basis ultimately leads to a calorie surplus that causes noticeable and long term weight gain. This is emotional eating, and everyone does it from time to time.

Emotional eating is characterized by:

  • Wanting more even after eating plenty
  • Experiencing a sudden urge to eat
  • Eating to feel better or safer
  • Craving very specific foods
  • Eating as a reward
  • Eating to excess

The first step in putting a stop to emotional eating is identifying your triggers. What brought on the urge to comfort eat and toss aside all mindful eating practices in the first place? Get curious about your feelings and thoughts, allow yourself to sit in emotions and give yourself the space you deserve to think, learn and grow.

Establishing mindful eating habits is just one part of the healing process. Your journey will be long and there will be many bumps in the road. We encourage a well-rounded approach, and for many people, that includes seeking help for binge eating from a mental health professional. If you need help to heal and recover from BED, don’t be afraid to ask.

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