Emotional Eating? Obviously!

I eat when I’m sad. I eat when I’m mad. I eat when I’m glad. I eat when I’m…. You get the idea. Sound like you? You’re not alone, that’s for sure!

This food stuff is, in the words of my five-year-old Godson, tricky. Understatement, right? If this was about eating when you were hungry, stopping when you were full, eating the right foods, and exercising more, I would be out a job and the world would not be in its current predicament with obesity, obesity-related diseases, and eating disorders all on the rise. Tricky indeed.

One complicating factor in all of this food confusion is the role of emotions. For many of us, the question really is: “Is there a role emotions don’t play in my eating?” Exactly.

This is such a problem that a non-clinical term, emotional eating was invented. Emotional eating is often used to describe overeating behavior in response to a heightened emotional experience. Did I just hit the nail on the head or what? So many solutions and so little time.

Bad news: we are constantly experiencing emotions, so to be highly reactive to all of your feelings is certainly going to interfere with your efforts to contain and solve your problems with food and weight.

Good news: you can learn to better regulate your feelings! You can learn how to build up positive experiences to better combat negative ones; you can learn how to act your way out of negative feelings.

What is the key word in those sentences? LEARN. And I sincerely believe you can teach any dog — old, new, well-behaved, not-so-nice — new tricks. Let the learning begin!

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