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Fri, Jan. 17

Diet Center’s Behavioral Tip of the Week | Dealing with unpleasant emotions

Harmful eating patterns can become cyclical. The cycle begins with an event involving emotions such as sadness, anxiety, frustration, or anger. (Adobe Image)

Harmful eating patterns can become cyclical. The cycle begins with an event involving emotions such as sadness, anxiety, frustration, or anger. (Adobe Image)

Do you find yourself experiencing unpleasant emotions and then turning to food to deal with those unpleasant emotions?

Hi, this is Eunice from Diet Center.

Harmful eating patterns can become cyclical. The cycle begins with an event involving emotions such as sadness, anxiety, frustration, or anger. These unpleasant feelings may lead to negative thoughts, and negative thinking may result in coping behaviors that can harm ourselves and our weight-loss efforts. These behaviors may include bingeing, purging, or starving ourselves.  These behaviors lead back to the beginning of the cycle with more unpleasant feelings and thoughts. 

The cycle can be broken by breaking one of the links in the chain of events. For example, if you tend to binge one day and then starve yourself the next day, then focus on stopping the binging. This will eliminate the need to starve yourself the following day. Eliminating these behaviors will help avoid those unpleasant feelings that result from bingeing and starving ourselves.  Also, try to break the cycle by looking for opportunities to deal with unpleasant emotional events in a healthy way. For example, you can visit with a friend when you’re sad. If you’re feeling anxious, try to relax. You may be preoccupied trying to stay busy to avoid what your body is feeling. Learning to relax allows you to tune into your body. When you’re relaxed, you’re more aware of unpleasant emotional and physical feelings. You should also have a clearer picture of how to deal with them appropriately. 

Ignoring unpleasant feelings causes them to build up to the point where you may cope with them by practicing unhealthy eating behaviors. For example, ignoring feelings of hunger can cause you to overeat at your next meal. Ignoring an issue that made you angry might cause you to turn to food to calm you down. 

Relaxation can give your mind and body a break from the stress of daily life so you can think clearly and positively. For example, instead of reaching for that pint of ice cream when your friend upsets you; relax with a warm bath or listen to soothing music.  While you begin to feel better, you may think of a good way to discuss the situation with your friend and clear things up.  Relaxation can become a substitute for or help prevent unhealthy eating behaviors.

When you’re angry, try cooling down by taking care of physical chores. 

Examine your unpleasant emotions and coping behaviors if you have been caught up in a harmful eating cycle.  Try to come up with a way to break a link in the cycle so you can get on a straight path to weight loss success.

Thank you for reading Diet Center’s Tip of the Week. If you find yourself caught up in harmful patterns, Diet Center can help by getting you going on a great weight-loss program. Call today 928-753-5066 or stop by 1848 Hope Ave. in Kingman.

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