Thursday, December 1, 2011

How to Stop Emotional Eating

Human beings are always creating coping mechanisms, ways to deal with stress and emotions.  We create these patterns of coping to give us a temporary reprieve from the stress or negative emotion we are experiencing.

Some coping patterns are healthy, release the stress and help us to think clearly… to find a positive direction towards that which stressed us out or affected us emotionally.

Responding to a emotional trigger or stressful situation with some exercise is a healthy coping mechanism that will help foster a positive outcome.  It will….
  • Release bottled up stress and anxiety.
  • Relax you and calm you down.
  • Make you feel good about yourself…this will help you to approach the situation with a positive outlook.
  • Create a positive self-image that allows you to move forward.

On the other hand some ways to cope do not give us a clearer perspective but make us feel better at least for a very short period of time, some of these actually do more damage than good.
Emotional eating is an example of a coping mechanism that doesn’t serve us, in fact it falls into the same category of coping with drugs and alcohol. When you realize that, it might help you to recognize the importance of changing.
To take a stressful situation or negative emotion and start eating junk food to deal or cope  will do the following…
  • Give you a momentary break from stress and anxiety, but does not get rid of it or release in anyway.
  • It will make you fat and unhealthy.
  • When you are done eating…all of the feelings return plus now you feel guilty for the food you just needlessly ate.  In essence, you have added to your stress!
  • You now feel bad about yourself….this does not foster a positive approach to finding a solution to the trigger or stressful situation.
  • This creates a negative self image and magnifies the problem so that it grows in your own mind.
There you have two different coping mechanisms with dramatically different impacts upon your psyche, self image and your ability to respond to the situation.

To understand how to use positive coping mechanisms in our lives instead of negative ones like emotional eating we need to discuss one more aspect to this powerful human response.
We live most moments in our lives habitually, meaning we do most things as a habit.   We have patterns of eating that are learned and become habits, this is true likewise for exercise.
Lean, fit people have a habit of eating healthy foods in reasonable amounts most of the time.  They prioritize exercise and fit it in whenever possible, habitually.
Overweight people do not. 

Likewise, any particular coping mechanism is a learned response that you go to habitually to deal with emotional stress or triggers.

In order to change your coping mechanism you need to first change your eating and exercise habits.  It is much more probable that someone who eats healthy and exercises daily will respond to a stressful or emotional situation with exercise.

But, even more than that….the methods that are used to change unhealthy, bad eating and exercise habits can then be used to change deeply ingrained coping mechanisms. 

So what really needs to happen to end emotional eating; is that someone who responds in this way needs to understand healthy foods and eating, best ways to exercise, be motivated to eat healthy and exercise, turn these into powerful learned habits and then use the same methods to retrain themselves to cope with emotional triggers in a positive way.

All this is very possible and in fact is easy once you know how. 

The Ultimate Fat Loss Solution ( is your resource for learning the very best in healthy eating, accelerated weight loss, efficient exercise approaches, as well as habit and behavioral re-conditioning.  

Yours in health and weight loss,
Michael Mountain

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