What we eat may help us control problems with compulsive eating and unhealthy weight gain. Eating right may even help us stay alert, remain calm, and retain sufficient energy to endure hard days.
We feel how we have eaten. We ought to be feeling great all the time since food tastes great and provides our bodies with precious nutrients. Eating too much or too little, however, can prove to be significantly detrimental to our health and quality of life—two things we would be wise to not let fall.
As we act and take charge of our individual food choices, we see a few things happen:
- We view food in a more positive and healthy light
- We have an improved self-image
- We have improved health
- We are more alert and have more energy
- We find it easier to move and be active
Despite our best intentions to eat healthily, we continually find several factors that may inhibit even our best efforts. These include:
- Our own psychology
- Family traditions and culture
- Social pressures and temptations
- Economic status
When faced with boredom, stress, anxiety, and a desire to prolong pleasure, many people use food as a way to cope. While this provides immediate self-gratification, eating as a default coping mechanism only leads to more problems. After developing this habit, some people may feel regret and guilt. This state only worsens as weight is inevitably gained and those who already are suffering develop a low self-esteem and body image. This destructive behavior inhibits both physical and emotional health in serious ways.
Psychology is important for those trying to manage their weight because it addresses two things:
- Thinking patterns: Psychology helps us identify and then treat destructive and unhealthy ways of thinking that inhibit any meaningful progress in eating well.
- Behavior: Psychology helps us identify eating behaviors that are detrimental and provide a baseline from which we can measure progress in overcoming unhealthy eating behaviors.
The most common treatments for someone who is seeking psychological help with bad eating habits are treatments that address both the thinking and behavior parts of psychology. This treatment, cognitive behavioral treatment, deals with a few different guiding principles:
- Self-monitoring: Being able to monitor one’s own eating triggers and knowing to act accordingly. Self-awareness allows one to stay focused on a goal and be careful about food choices.
- Breaking linkages: Controlling triggering stimuli is the next step after self-monitoring. Breaking linkages is acting upon the knowledge that certain settings cause an eating trigger, certain foods trigger eating, etc. To break linkages one must separate oneself from bad stimuli, or get rid of it altogether. To find success, one cannot settle for getting rid of the bad, but rather, embracing the good. Changing bad eating habits and finding social support is also vital to breaking linkages.
The “Thinking” portion of cognitive behavioral therapy focuses on how you think of food. Patterns of thinking that are self-defeating cannot help one become healthier and happier. Coping statements can help one overcome negative thoughts and push forward with confidence in the future. Some examples are:
“I know I am eating too much. I need to stop and think about what will happen because of this action.”
“I need to identify why I was triggered so I can escape the temptation later.”
“Am I hungry or is this just another attempt to overeat?”
To stay strong in overcoming an overeating problem, one must keep a single diet program rather than switching between many short-term diets. Be consistent in your vitamin intake while transitioning into a new diet program. Starving your body from vital nutrients will only inhibit your long-term health goals. Consider complete vitamin programs such as Kyani to add to your daily routine.