Emotional Triggers That Can Lead to Weight Gain

I mentioned in my blog a couple of days ago that the main reason people gain weight is from overeating.  Now, it is possible to overeat when you allow yourself to get TOO hungry (hence the reason you need to eat something every 3 hours).  I think we’ve probably all done that… you reach the point that you’re absolutely starving, and then you raid your whole house eating everything in sight. 

However,  I want to explain a few of the emotional reasons people overeat.  1)  Anger.  When you are very angry, sometimes this can make you feel like eating.  I know I’ve done it… I just get so frustrated either with myself or someone else (usually my husband… but fortunately that doesn’t happen too often anymore) that I just want to eat because I don’t know what else to do!  Indeed, you do need to be prepared with some anger management and coping skills to avoid overeating in times like this.  Try venting your anger through exercise; journaling; counting to 10; deep breathing exercises; do something else until you can calm down enough to think rationally.  2) Loneliness.  Sometimes food can become your one and only trusted friend… it’s seems like it’s the only thing that’s always there and loves you unconditionally.   This is where my relationship with God comes in.  I know that HE is the only one who truly loves me unconditionally, because humans are fallible creatures.  I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that He loves me and accepts me for who I am – even with my weaknesses and frailties (and He loves you, too…  I promise He does!).  However, I also seek to cultivate and nurture my relationships with friends and family.  If you are lonely, do something about it.  Seek out others with like interests; I’ve recently found a website called www.meetup.com that helps you find others who share your same hobbies and passions.  Give that a try.  3) Feelings of shame and/or inadequacy.  When people struggle with issues of self-esteem, it is very easy to give in to these feelings, and say “what’s the use?  I might as well just eat this bag of chips, carton of ice-cream, etc.”.  Don’t do it!  If you listen to the messages you tell yourself, you might find something interesting… do those messages sound familiar?  Who used to tell you those things about yourself growing up?  Usually we internalize messages we received as children from our parents, grand-parents, or other trusted adults.  We’ve repeated those messages for so long that they have become a part of us and our reality.  It’s time to change those tapes!  Tell yourself the truth (i.e. you are acceptable, worthwhile, unique, special, loveable, good at things, etc.  I know these are true about you, because they are true about everybody… you just have to remind yourself of it often).

There are many others I could mention, but I wanted to just give you an idea of what I’m talking about.  If you struggle with emotional eating, overeating, or binge eating, then I would suggest you begin journaling your thoughts and feelings.  Start to recognize repetitive patterns of thoughts, feelings, and behavior.  By the way, your feelings and behavior always follow your thoughts; your thoughts always follow your beliefs.   So, in order to change feelings and behavior patterns, you must start with identifying your beliefs, choosing to believe the truth (if you are unsure what truth is, a great place to start is with the Bible, because that’s the source of absolute truth), repeating the truth to yourself daily and even moment by moment if necessary.  Pretty soon you will find that your feelings and behavior will follow suit, and you won’t need to overeat to cope with negative emotions.

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