Emotional overeating is when an individual is using food to cope with their emotions. Often a person is overeating to soothe themselves from negative emotions such as anger, stress, or fear.
Also, emotional overeating is common in senior citizens when their emotional needs are not being met. This is especially true when an elderly individual is struggling with loneliness and depression.
Some people refer to overeating as “stress eating” which, for many, is not too far off the mark. It’s true that over short amounts of time stress can suppress an individual’s appetite. Yet, if stress continues over an extended period, it is common for an individual’s appetite to increase. This increased appetite can continue as long as the stress persists.
When you understand the relationship between stress and overeating, and take into account an American Psychological Association survey found one-fourth of Americans rate their stress level as 8 or more on a 10-point scale, it is clear emotional overeating impacts a lot of people.
Seeking Counseling for Emotional Overeating
There can be shame and insecurities surrounding food issues. If you are suffering from self-esteem issues and are overeating, know there is help. Talking with a counselor can give you better insights into your problems and provide you with the tools you need to handle any stress or worries you have.
When you work with a counselor, the approach to your situation will be unique. A counselor can help you pinpoint why you are emotional overeating and what underlying issues need to be resolved. In addition, if you agree on a course of action and it isn’t showing the results you desire, you and your counselor can work together to forge a new path to healing.
Other Paths to Overcoming Stress
A lot of stress can be felt by elderly adults and their caregivers. Counseling can help alleviate some of the stress you are experiencing.
Some of the lifestyles adjustments necessary could include the following:
- Sleep – Establishing a consistent sleep schedule is a building block to overall health. Sleep deprivation has been linked to depression and unhealthy behaviors. Seeking help could improve your sleep. Sleep problems can be linked to mental health issues, so discussing your problems with a counselor can help you establish a good sleep pattern which will help to normalize eating habits, too.
- Meditation – A meditation practice helps to reduces stress and helps an individual be mindful of food choices. Mindfulness is active meditation. It is learning to be aware of what you are feeling and thinking throughout the day. This awareness can help you suppress food urges.
- Exercise – While physical activity is a known necessity for good health, many avoid it, particularly when there are mobility issues. Try and find an exercise that works for you. And if it is one that has a social aspect, even better. Try a gentle stretching class, a walking club, or a water movement class.
Emotional overeating is a real problem, but help is only a phone call away. Contact Van Blarcom Consulting today.