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Common Challenges: In the eyes of emotional eating

“No one can make you feel inferior without your permission.”  Eleanor Roosevelt

This is a powerful quote and one I use often when meeting with some of my wonderful clients.  It’s such a simple, short sentence but so thought provoking.  Often upon an initial meeting with clients we discuss past medical history, medications, food allergies, exercise, meal timing and patterns and just skim the surface.  I listen while a story is told and understand that it will take time for trust to be built as my client and I put our plan together to move forward.

As we move through this journey together, we find that more times than most it is not just about the food.  We talk about using food as a fuel; we work on a meal plan and initiate lifestyle changes, and initiate exercise.  Most of the time success is obtained and for some, this is when the fear starts to settle in.  Will this last?  I’m doing well now, when will I start to fail again?  Can I keep this up this time?  

It is important to understand it’s never about the food and that is why, when appropriate, I introduce the concept of keeping an emotional chart along with the food journal to document feelings, emotions, or activities that parallel eating.

If you find that you eat during times of stress, anxiety, loneliness, boredom, anticipation of events, depression, or anger it’s important to address this behavior and work within yourself to define trigger points, understand actions, and work on behavior modification.  Emotional eating can become detrimental to weight loss and lifestyle change and it is important to get to address.  Dietitians have an ability to discuss nutrition and health and introduce the concept of emotional eating, but a therapist is best to work with to uncover the parallel between the action and emotion.

Most dietitians pair up with therapists they trust and respect. The combination of therapy and nutrition intervention is an equation for success.  If you have any of the signs above you can start by keeping a food and emotion journal. If you notice a pattern, make an appointment with a clinician.  You can ask your physician, research the web, or even contact me at kindrednutrition@gmail.com and I’ll help you find the right fit.  Good luck and be well.

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