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5 Common Signs of Eating Disorders

When we hear the term “eating disorder”  we usually think of someone who won’t eat anything or someone who eats too much and then purges.  There really is a lot more to eating disorders than just those 2.  Plus, I want to give you some insight into what habits you have now that could lead to an eating disorder.  Let me share the five common signs of eating disorders

Eating Disorders

1 Skipping meals

I know this is something that can happen from time to time with our busy schedules, but if you are intentionally skipping meals then it can be a problem.  Do you skip meals when you know you will be going out for a big dinner?  That is really not a good sign and not a good idea.

2 Eating until you become sick

This one is a no brainer.  If you eat until you are sick, that is obviously not healthy.  It also can mean that you have been so strict on what you are eating that you no longer want to feel deprived.  Having a healthy lifestyle needs to allow some “cheats” every now and then or else you will binge to the point of sickness.

3 Obsessing over food labels

I will be the first to admit that reading food labels is a good thing but obsessing over them is not.  This usually leads people to start looking at food as “pure” or “unpure”.  It tends to limit what you will eat to just a very few items. This may lead to a feeling of being superior over those who eat “unpure” food.  It can cause someone to feel they need to be punished if they eat anything “unpure”.  Often the punishment will involve days of even more rigorous limitations of food or several days of fasting.  This is not a healthy attitude towards food.

4 Going to the gym to burn off calories

This one is a bit tricky.  Going to the gym and working out is a good thing.  It becomes a bad thing if you binge and then the next day work out to the point where you deliberately make yourself so sore that you can’t work out for the next 5 days.  You should work out for the health benefits and to feel energetic, not to just burn calories for a planned binge or a binge the night before.

5 Restricting calories because of planned drinking

This can actually be dangerous!  If you have not eaten and then you start drinking alcohol, that is a very unhealthy combination.  You may need to take a step back and have a reality check.  This could not only be a type of eating disorder but could also be a problem with alcohol.

Please feel free to comment on this.  Hopefully this will open up a dialogue to help us all have healthier eating habits.

 

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5 Steps to End Emotional Eating

By Laura Wright, CPT

We have probably all done this at one time or another, but it becomes a huge problem when it becomes a habit.  The almost out of control feeling we have while emotional eating seems too difficult to conquer.  Before I go any further, I want to make it clear that I am not a medical doctor or a psychiatrist, I am just a person who has done some emotional eating and these 5 steps, if implemented, would be helpful to control emotional eating.

5 Steps to End Emotional Eating

  1. Eat mindfully.

Don’t eat in front of any screen (whether TV or computer)!  Pay attention to what you are eating and your emotions while you are eating it.  Is that chocolate cake reminding you of a loved family member and making you want to eat the whole cake instead of just one slice?  Maybe a rough situation that happened earlier in the day has made you feel that a little a treat would make you feel better and then you wind up eating the whole bag of Oreos.  It could be just the opposite, maybe you had a great day and want to celebrate to congratulate yourself by overindulging on unhealthy food.

  1. Keep a record of when you are emotional eating.

Does it usually happen at work or in the evening?  What is making you feel emotional?  It will only take you a short period of time to discover a pattern to your eating based on your emotions.  You will see certain situations that cause you to give in to emotional eating and learn how to prepare for them or how to avoid those situations.

  1. Examine your feelings before, during and after eating.

Here is a question: Were you really hungry or were you just eating to comfort yourself?  Did it start out as a normal meal and then get out of control?  What were your thoughts when it got out of control?  How did you feel afterwards?  Once again, you may start to see a pattern in certain situations or a pattern in your thinking about food that you need to change.

  1. Accept that you must deal with the feelings.

This one is really an extension of step 3.  It is not enough to just identify what you are feeling, you must also learn to deal with those feelings.  This step will take some work.  Write down what feelings you may be using food to avoid.  This is a tough step because you may come to the realization that you need some help in dealing with these feelings in a more appropriate way.  You may realize that talking to friends or family members you trust is helpful for working out your feelings.  You also could come to the conclusion that to really break the cycle of emotional eating, you need to have some help from a counselor or some other type of professional.  Always remember you need to take the steps necessary for your needs.

  1. Find something you can do that will help you stop when you realize you are in the middle of an emotional eating overindulgence.

This does not have to be any big earth -shaking thing that you do.  It could be as simple as counting to ten or taking a few deep breaths.  Maybe go on a quick 5 minute walk or go pet your dogs.  Anything that will make you stop for a minute and think about what you are doing will work.  Look at what you wrote down in step 3 about your feelings after you overindulged.

These are just a few steps to help you along when you are emotional eating.  If you realize that your overindulgence on food is related to some trauma that happened years ago, getting some professional help would be appropriate at that time.  Emotional eating can be serious and lead to long term health problems.  Be sure to take the time you need to take care of yourself emotionally and physically.

If you have any more tips that have worked for you, be sure to leave them in the comments!

 

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3 Negative Identities that Must be Confronted

By Dr. Jim Wright, Co-Founder of Achieve

You want to lose weight, but you can’t get motivated. Or, you were once motivated to lose weight—and you lost some weight—but now you are tired of the whole process. The initial excitement has worn off. The scales don’t seem to move in the right direction anymore. In fact, they are moving in the wrong direction albeit slowly.

What has happened? Where did the fire, the passion, the desire go? You used to anticipate the next day as another opportunity to move in the right direction, but now you almost dread the days because you are fearful they are going to result in a slow creep in the wrong direction.

There are several factors that may be leading to your weight regain. In this brief article I am going to focus on just one: Your Identity. How you think about yourself determines what you do with yourself. Here are some identity issues that may be leading to your regression:

  1. You are a victim of frustration

At first the scales may have shown consistent improvement. With the exception of a day here or there, you saw the numbers going down. It seemed like every day you drop a tenth or two; you saw progress! However, somewhere the progress stalled or there were longer periods of no progress. Eventually, subconsciously, you told yourself you couldn’t take weight off. So, you stopped making health choices, you started “fudging” (no pun intended) at meals; you started having an additional snack or overeating your portions. As the weight started to come back on, you told yourself that you just could not do lost weight.

  1. You are a victim of your genes

As the weight loss stalled or started o reverse itself, you told yourself that you were just meant to be heavier. You may have used the “I’m big boned” excuse or “Being overweight is in my genes.” You began to re-identify yourself with your pre-weight loss past. Your excuses gave you a reason to stop making healthy choices. The saying is true “If you give an inch, you will take a mile” and you started to give the inches and gain inches.

  1. You are a victim of life

You started to see yourself as “old.” You started to tell yourself that you are just too old to lose weight or too old to care anymore. You started to say you are too tired. You said that your days were too long to worry about what you ate. You just have too much going on in life. You are an old, weary, worn-out person! In short, you are a victim of your circumstances.

How can you reverse the negative identity?

  1. You can triumph over negative thoughts

When the scales don’t go in the right direction—even if they go in the wrong direction that day—remind yourself of the right choices you made. Remember, unhealthy eating gives immediate gratification; whereas healthy eating gives delayed gratification. It may take a few days to see some results. Also, don’t forget to take into account if you have started taking a medication, started an exercise program, or have some monthly hormonal changes. Focus on the positives other than the scales!

  1. You can triumph over your body

Remember, you’ve lost weight in the past. You can do it. You are not a failure. Accept that there are going to be days of no weight loss; there might even be a few days in a row of no loss, but that doesn’t mean you are a failure.  Take the long view of weight loss. Even if the scale isn’t moving in the right direction, you are still feeding your body correctly. Your body will ultimately respond—it has too!

  1. You can triumph over your schedule

We are all tired! We all live busy lives. We all have obligations. Preparation and planning when you are not tired is your biggest weapon. Having access to void replacements and being prepared for those unexpected restaurant stops will lead to your success. You have beaten the Diet Demon in the past with the same schedule and you can do it again! You can be triumphant. You are the “master of your fate” when it comes to what you put into your mouth. Food is not your master!!

Weight loss is a choice. It begins and ends with how you see yourself. Are you a victim or a victor? When a person moves from victor to victim the end is near! When you move from victim to victor the future is here!