Obesity continues to be an increasing problem in the US. Although the obvious problems that lead to obesity are often discussed, such as too much of the wrong kinds of foods or a sedentary lifestyle, there’s an aspect that often isn’t talked about.
That is, there’s a mental dynamic to obesity that needs addressed first before any further progress can be made. For many, there’s an emotional connection to food that’s hard to shake. For others, too busy of a schedule could be a major culprit.
What are the reasons people overeat? There are many possibilities such as boredom, anger, sadness or anxiety. Although there may be a brief “high” while overeating or shortly afterward, those struggling with their weight also wind up struggling mentally in many ways including low confidence and depression. It’s a vicious cycle that continues to worsen unless it’s broken.
Thankfully, there are some things you can do to break the emotional connection you have with food. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
Find Out What Emotionally Triggers Your Overeating
Sometimes a mental illness such as depression can lead to overeating and eventually obesity. Other times, the obesity itself can bring on a host of mental health concerns including anxiety and depression among others.
Given the myriad of physical problems obesity creates, it isn’t surprising that the mind and emotions are so commonly affected.
That said, there’s an underlying emotion or feeling that makes it more likely you’ll overeat in the same way someone struggling with the overuse of alcohol may be more tempted. Overeating triggers are different for everyone and could include anything from feeling out of control in life to feeling rejected or unloved.
Once you’ve identified the trigger that leads you to overeat, try replacing your unhealthful coping mechanism with something better. Consciously choose exercise when those feelings come up, for instance. At first, doing so won’t be easy but it’ll get easier over time and you’ll reap the benefits of getting more active.
Besides that, exercise helps to curb your appetite. You crave more healthful foods, feel more disciplined and are more apt to eat healthier portions when regularly exercising.
You Can Change Who You Are
This is so important to remember, especially if you’ve struggled with being overweight for most or all of your life. You can begin to think that being overweight is a part of your unalterable identity such as which family you were born into.
The good news is that, despite how you may feel, obesity is something you can gradually alter and overcome. You can live differently and improve your quality of life in the process. It’s empowering when those struggling with obesity finally realize they can be different.
Find Support as You Seek Change
You’ll greatly improve your odds of success in overcoming obesity if you can find a group of people to rally around you. This could include family and friends from your inner circle.
You also may find encouragement from a support group or a personal mentor who’s overcome obesity. Also, be sure to remember that obesity is, first of all, mental but also physical. For this reason, it’s a good idea to consider speaking with your physician before beginning a weight loss plan.
In addition, don’t forget the emotional and mental battle of obesity. Your local counselor can help you work through the emotional triggers that cause you to overeat.
“You can’t outrun a bad diet,” is a helpful fitness saying that’s meant to remind people that exercise won’t make up for a lousy diet. It takes both aspects.
In the same way, you could also say that you can’t outrun an unhealthful emotional state when it comes to obesity. Your counselor can help you work through your underlying mental roadblocks so you’ll be in a better place for success as you embark on your weight loss journey.
Has obesity been getting the best of you lately? If so, you can schedule with us at either our Mission Viejo or Newport Beach, CA counseling locations. You don’t have to do this alone.