Emotional Eating: it’s hard to diet under anxiety

Emotional eating is simple to define: when you are emotionally upset, you turn to food for comfort.  It’s a way to turn your mind away from the stress or emotion for as long as the snack lasts.  As soon as the food is consumed, you are back at trying to deal with the feeling that made you eat, so you go back to the fridge.  It’s a vicious cycle.

The new year has arrived and you have to make a resolution about losing weight.  It’s what you and many others do every year.

But notice how sometimes you struggle to be on this new diet (whatever diet you chose this year) because emotional eating and anxiety are getting in the way of your diet plan.

Not only you are now dealing with the emotion, but you have also eaten something you didn’t plan on.  If you can’t control yourself and you are anticipating having stress or you are frequently afraid of something that may happen in the future (true or not), you might be suffering from anxiety. Eating is just your favorite coping skill.

How does anxiety affect my diet?

Weight Watchers, Mediterranean, Dukan Diet, Paleo, Ketogenic and others assume your life is free of emotional distraction and they assume your days are the same every day.  Diets don’t discuss emotional health.  They don’t have to.

Even if you suffer from anxiety, you can learn a set of cognitive skills that help you stay on course.  Motivation or willpower are concepts that have little to do with being successful and focused on controlling impulses. Cognitive skills address your thoughts, which influence your emotions and impact your behaviors.

I want to work with you to address the problems associated with the negative emotions that are making you use food to cope.  Diets focus on what you can or cannot eat.  I want to help you change what you think.  As your diet focuses on what you eat differently, I want to work with you on what you think differently.

At the Counseling and Wellness Center of South Florida, we can help you.  Contact me for a 15-minute conversation to see if I can help you.

P.S. I want to recognize that you are taking the right step to address your undesired weight or your health concern.  It’s a huge step in the right direction.

Cheers and Happy New Decade!

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