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The following information is for educational purposes only. Due to new FDA Compounding Guidelines and Telehealth Certifications,
Nu Image Medical no longer offers the HCG Weight Loss Program. GOOD NEWS! We have developed something better and easier: WAYT-less!

What's Your Relationship Like With Food?- Emotional Struggles with Eating and How to Come Out On Top

What's Your Relationship Like With Food?- Emotional Struggles with Eating and How to Come Out On Top

Emotional Struggles with Eating and How to Come Out On Top

Ever really thought about what your relationship with food is like? Is there even such a thing? Most of us may not have ever given it much thought. We know that we probably need to eat a bit healthier, and we know we might need to lose a few pounds here and there, but are we really fully addressing our issues with food when we go on a diet? Is there a bigger underlying problem that we need to fix first to help us keep the weight off for good? Most psychologists and even dietitians say YES. They even report that most individuals who gain weight and/or struggle to lose it may have some deeper rooted issues that should be investigated, and without addressing these underling issues, they may not be successful in ever losing weight or keeping it from coming back.

I don't know about you, but if you're like me at all, you may be somewhat cautious as to what you eat on a daily basis, but the rest of the time, I'm not quite sure if I can tell you when I ate or even how much ( yikes!) Now, don't get me wrong, I believe whole- heartedly (VERY WHOLE -HEARTEDLY) that occasional indulgence is perfectly okay; provided you are not currently on the hCG diet, of course:) But speaking from experience, it may be just as important to understand how you became overweight as it is to lose the weight. Sometimes, we don't necessarily think that way. We just want to lose the weight. Maybe we don't want to recognize that there is usually another problem at play, but if we don't know why the problem started in the first place, who's to say it won't happen again, right?

The hCG diet, more than any other diet out there, is going to reveal and highlight some issues and struggles that you may have with food. We all have different situations and come from a variety of backgrounds, but the hCG diet is a challenge for everyone. Now, please don't misunderstand me, the hCG diet is an incredible weight loss option (and one that comes highly recommended!), but any diet (especially the hCG diet) will eventually put you face to face with the "real problem" that probably led you to weight gain in the first place. The question then becomes, will we be able to recognize when it happens, figure out what it is, and what can we do to help change things?

  1. Become more aware. One of the biggest factors of unintentional weight gain comes from simply being unaware of what we eat. It becomes a mindless habit. For example, if you consistently eat in front of the television, then pretty soon you will begin to associate watching TV with food. Eating and not paying attention to what we are eating or how much can be dangerous. Before you know it, you've eaten that whole bag of potato chips, and you didn't even realize it...oops. You might not have even really been hungry in the first place. Take a step back. Try to be a little more cautious when it comes to food. Are you really hungry? Think, do I really need to eat all of this? Can I go ahead and bag up half of this meal for later? These are some great questions we should continually ask ourselves. But, if we don't realize that there ever was a problem, then there's no moving forward. Awareness is key.

  2. Try finding enjoyment in other things. Its sounds basic, but a lot of us eat for pure enjoyment not necessarily out of necessity. It's also a big reason that a lot of our food choices are not always as healthy as they probably could be. And hey, there's nothing wrong with savoring a delicious dessert every now and then.These are things we should be doing occasionally! The problem comes when we can't find enjoyment elsewhere, so we turn to that piece of cheesecake, for example, for a few minutes of happiness. Whether out of boredom or just to make ourselves feel better at the moment, turning to food is a way to find enjoyment right then. For some people food becomes like a drug. It's addicting. We need that quick fix and then we need more, and the next time more, and so on. The problem then is we can't just cut out food form our diet to break the habit.There's no quitting food "cold turkey" like other addicting things out there. We have to find a way to continue to eat and keep ourselves balanced. Unfortunately, this is really hard for some people and why they continue to struggle to lose weight. Finding enjoyment in other things besides food is crucial in maintaining good health and a good weight. You don't have to find enjoyment in just exercise like some people recommend (although that is a great option). But if you're like me, and exercise seems more like a chore than enjoyment, find something else that makes you happy like maybe taking a long, hot shower or reading a book. I once had a lady tell me that she would never be able to lose weight because she loved to cook to much. I can certainly understand her frustration, and it must be hard and really tempting at times, but in my opinion if cooking makes her happy and she finds true contentment in doing that, then it's important for her to find a way to work around it. For example, she could challenge her cooking skills into creating tasty, but also healthy recipes, and maybe grow a garden outside that will provide her with some exercise and fresh air as well as some fresh produce for her dishes. She could even prepare something for a friend or neighbor. It takes discipline for sure, but there are things to enjoy that don't necessarily involve eating.

  3. Allow yourself to FEEL. No one wants to feel bad, feel sad, or even mad for that matter. We learn at a young age to avoid things that don't feel good or feel bad to us. We tend to be a "pleasure-seeking" culture. But sometimes, instead of just letting those feelings of sadness go, we have to have a distraction. We don't want to deal with things. It's just easier to sweep it under the rug and move on, right? It can be very easy to turn to food for comfort. The taste of something good can quickly help us forget about whatever might be going on around us. We all have had tough experiences and stressors, but turning to food to "numb" the feelings of fear, and sadness, for example, can lead you down a never-ending path of self-destruction and often unhealthy choices. Without the ability to really deal with life's inevitable downturns, you will quickly become susceptible to emotional eating. So, what's the solution? It may seem difficult or even crazy, but try to express or vent your feelings, and try to do so in a positive way.  For example, if your kids are driving you crazy and you feel like you are going to explode, don't send them to bed and then go pig out on cookies and chocolate. Make a plan of action- maybe call a sitter or friend to watch them for a few hours while you have some precious "me" time, and then talk it out. Let him or her or your significant other know how tough things have been on you with so much on your plate. Sometimes just letting those feelings out is an important step in being overall healthy internally. No matter what the situation, not voicing your feelings and/or frustration will only cause those horrible feelings to well up; eventually causing behavioral changes like overindulging on food.

  4. Rest and relax. Stress and lack of sleep are HUGE factors of emotional eating. I know...easier said than done, right? But, when we are stressed not only do we not pay attention to what or how much we eat, but cortisol (hormone) levels in our body rise that can actually cause us to store fat and gain weight. It's a similar effect when we're tired. The brain sends messages to the body that it's hungry, and we end up hungry and looking for something to snack on at two in the morning. The answer is simple. Make sure to get plenty of rest! Sleeping for 6-8 hours at least each night is super important in keeping your body at a healthy weight. If you're struggling with sleep loss trying relaxation techniques and avoid caffeine in the afternoon. Adequate rest will also fight stress, and help you cope better with what's going on around you...including helping you make better food choices.

  5. Learn to love your body. Unfortunately, this one is a biggie, and it hits home for a lot of us. It may seem contradictory, but poor self image is one of the biggest causes of emotional eating. Lots of people tend to say that they will begin to love their body more after they lose the weight. But unfortunately, not loving your body beforehand, tends to keep some from seeing lasting weight loss success. Learning to love your body right now as is, before you make any changes at all, may be the real key to really being comfortable in your own skin no matter what size. If you're confident the way you are before the diet, think how much more mentally prepared you'll be going into it. It's just as important to love yourself for who you are now as it is to lose weight and be healthy. Remember, healthy and happy starts on the inside.

Emotional eating is often used as a temporary solution for life's many struggles and challenges. If you're considering the hCG diet to help you lose weight, you may be confronted with some issues you may not have realized you had. In order to stop emotional eating, we have to take a step back, realize that we may have a problem and look inside ourselves to find the strength to turn things around. And remember, we are here for you every step of the way. You don't have to go it alone. Give Nu Image Medical a call at (888) 520-3438.



About the author

Dr. Constance Odom, MD

4 min read