How to beat emotional and binge eating


Sunday, February 25, 2018

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IF you or anyone you know had a problem keeping their weight down, then you are aware of eating issues, but probably do not understand the desires and feelings to eat. So, what are comfort, social and binge eating, and how does one handle them?

Comfort eating or emotional eating

For most of us, eating is connected to a pleasant memory or state. Even as babies, being fed was fulfilling and comfortable, and growing up eating was often connected to breaks, parties, rewards for being good, comfort for an injury, treats, family, and friends.

For our bodies to encourage us to eat, you feel good because of overpowering feel-good relaxing hormones stemming from something you ate, especially during times of stress and a stir of emotions.

How do you work around this?

• Find and address the source of your stress and emotional triggers. Looking into the issues on your own, with a friend, or a counsellor is always a good option.

• Find healthy substitutes for the often unhealthy comfort foods; preferably natural foods such as fruits, nuts, whole grain crackers, vegetables, and natural dips like hummus, peanut butter and guacamole. You may also try unsweetened or naturally sweetened teas (black, green, decaffeinated, herbal, with or without lemon). Have these healthy options available and ready to go.

• Rid your house of the unhealthy options and don't use children as an excuse. They should be healthy also. Get imaginative.

• Do not use “place holders” like sugar free ice-cream, or low-fat this and gluten-free sugary that. Keep it natural and clean as these foods are holding the place for the fully unhealthy foods to return.

• Eat mindfully. What am I eating? Do I really need to eat this? Right now?

• Chew mindfully. Sit quietly and chew thoroughly.

• Breathe. Deep breathing can be relaxing.

• Go for a walk or exercise.

30 pounds lost on ITK

Join us this week in congratulating one of our ITK members who has won the battle with comfort, social and binge eating, and lost 30 pounds so far on our system.

Shaye's testimonial: Becoming an ITKarian has been the one of the best things I have done with my life. Following the ITK steps to transform my body into how I would like it to feel and look has surely worked.

The constant communication no matter what time of day, support from coaches and others in the programme, and conversational groups has made this journey so easy and smooth for me.

Social eating

We are social creatures and many animals, including humans, take part in eating as a social activity. Of course when you add the often present peer pressure to eat and drink, it becomes a significant challenge. If you have a particular wellness, health or fitness goal, simply eating what the average person around you is eating will not do and you will have to find a way to manage these situations, especially if these occasions are somewhat frequent.

• Balance your eating on the day of the occasion. Try minimising your caloric intake, especially minimising fats, flour and sugar products. Your total caloric intake for the day will matter, so save those calories for the occasion.

• Drink water. Don't drink your calories at these occasions. Have your water in a proper glass, perhaps with a lemon.

• Avoid flour, rice and sugar products if possible. Choose clean protein and vegetable options.

• Distance yourself from the buffet or pastry section as the sight and smell will increase the yearning.

• Never order pastry for yourself; if anything, sample a friend's.

• Try to make these events more about the company than about the food.

• Avoid these social occasions. This is the simplest and most effective way to prevent yourself from being drawn into overindulging. If you have a goal which can be achieved in a reasonable time, for the most part avoid or postpone these engagements. After developing new eating habits, it may become easier for you to manage yourself at social events.

• Do not attempt to overcorrect the next day. Simply go back to your regular eating. It is what you do MOST of the time which will matter. Overcorrecting will only result in deprivation and cravings and binging.

Binge eating

Simply, overeating, often for days or weeks. Binge eating can start because of the overcorrection mentioned above, serious social eating — for example on vacation — and of course, emotional eating. It is the simplest to address as all the solutions above also apply to managing binging.

Having a support group, being part of an eating programme such as ITK and having a coach to turn to are all useful tools so reach out. If this is an issue for you be self-aware and get your eating under control as soon as you can. Always remember your wellness is more than worth the knowledge and effort.

Fitz-George Rattray is the director of Intekai Academy, which is focused on helping people live a healthy lifestyle through nutrition and weight management. If you are interested in losing weight or living a healthier lifestyle give them a call at 968-8238, or visit their website at




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