What is your drug of choice?
You’ve been doing great on your diet. You’re losing weight, your clothes are getting looser and you may even be feeling better than you’ve felt in a long time.
But everybody has them – situations that threaten to derail even the most diligent weight loss plan. These situations can ruin all the hard work you’ve accomplished to date or they can teach you something about yourself and make you an even stronger person and more successful at weight loss.
One of the toughest aspects of dieting is learning to divorce emotions from eating habits. It’s fair to say most human beings have emotional attachments to food. These attachments can be as innocent as a happy childhood memory whenever you see a triangle of fairy bread. Or they can be more complex, especially if you were rewarded or punished with food when you were “good” or “bad.”
Many of us struggling with weight problems learned to equate food with comfort in our parents’ arms. When we cried as babies, we were consoled with a feeding. Later, as children, we were often rewarded with treats such as biscuits, ice cream or lollies, if we finished our meals or were a “good little boy or girl” for our parents.
If kids were bullying you at school then ice cream after school made you feel better. The need to eat when we were feeling intense emotions isn’t just psychological. Actually, complex chemical reactions occur when we ingest certain foods during emotional states. Chocolate is a good example. Chocolate contains a chemical in trace quantities called phenylalanine, which humans produce naturally. This chemical is responsible for releasing dopamine in the reward and satisfaction system of our brain. When some people eat chocolate, they get the same pleasurable feelings they have after having an orgasm because the same chemicals are released.
Take a look at this 3-Step plan for working with emotional overeating.
- First, identify what kind of emotional eater you are. Some people eat when they feel anxious or stressed. Others hit the biscuit tin when they are bored or depressed. This is where a food journal can be helpful. When you write down how you are feeling whenever you get an urge to eat, you will be able to discern your emotional patterns attached to food.
- Get specific about how you are feeling as you reach for food. Note the times you are most vulnerable to emotional eating. Do you automatically reach for something containing sugar around mid-afternoon when everything quietens down in your office? Perhaps you could be starving because you’ve not eaten a proper breakfast and skipped lunch. What is going on around you?
- After you start discerning patterns of your emotional eating behaviors, look for other ways to nurture yourself. For example, if you find yourself snacking every night in front of the TV, look for other activities you can do instead. If you are watching TV because you’re bored, you could read or take up a new hobby. Of if you feel bored, rather than reach for food, you could call a friend or go for a run.
Emotional overeating offers short-term relief for a long-term problem. A packet of biscuits or a couple of glasses of red wine might make you feel good right now, but an hour from now you will be feeling remorseful about sabotaging yourself again. Compounding the situation is that you have probably reached for foods that are not diet-friendly. How often do you reach for a salad or fruit when you are feeling down? Learn how to control your reactions to emotions without food and you may, for the first time in your life, find weight loss much easier to attain.
Tyrosine Mood Food is necessary for the manufacture of dopamine and noradrenaline, which are required for concentration, alertness, memory and a happy, stable mood. I take this product on a daily basis to help with concentration and a foggy brain due to late nights working on my next article. Tyrosine can also relieve emotional pain as we are often very sensitive people.
L-Glutamine is an amino acid and has been shown to improve brain function.
Vegetable juice has been successfully used to clear out fatty livers and can help with a myriad of health disorders. Dr. Cabot has a great juice book that’s easy to follow and has recipes to help rejuvenate your liver. Raw Juices Can Save Your Life by Dr. Sandra Cabot.
Magnesium Ultra Potent can be taken before bed to assist with a deep and restful sleep. It also helps to reduce stress and is also known as the “great relaxer”. Dr. Cabot’s book, Help for Depression and Anxiety, is an excellent read for people suffering with depression, stress and anxiety.
The above statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease.