Using Food as a Drug

Are You Using Food As a Drug?  Simple Steps to Stop Over eating

Are you using food to manage difficult feelings?  Feelings such as sadness, anxiety, anger or loneliness can be damped down by eating excessively.  The positive aspect of overeating is that you are trying to take care of yourself, and you are trying to manage difficult feelings.  The problem with over eating is that you are still left with the original problems and you might be harming your health by eating foods that are not good for you.   So, what can you differently?

Recognize your trigger feelings

First, of all, you have to recognize when a feeling is triggered.  Before you can change your behavior, you have to understand that something is not right. Let’s say someone you love is upset with you for some reason.  You might to start to feel anxious inside and the old feelings can surface making you feel unsafe, unloved, or left behind, abandoned.  So, you  reach for that cookie or that chocolate bar and you start eating.  For a short while, your mind goes away from those difficult unwanted feelings.  Then later, you feel upset with yourself because your body feels unpleasantly stuffed and the anxiety is still lurking somewhere inside of you.  So now you feel guilty because you overate and you promised you wouldn’t do that-and you are still feeling unsafe, unloved or abandoned.

How can you learn to stop using food as a drug?

What can you do instead?  How can you change behaviors that have been with you for a long time so that you can stop overeating and stop using food as a drug?

*Recognize what you are feeling when you begin to overeat.  What is that feeling?  What causes it?

*Have some alternative ready to do other than eating.  You can make telephone calls to friends.  You can exercise or take a walk around the block.

*Have a support system in place where you can communicate your feelings.  Do you have a sibling or friend that you are close with?  Keep that phone number in your favorites and hit dial when you recognize        your oncoming trigger feeling.

*Have a journal handy to write down what is going on and how you are feeling.

*Be gentle with yourself, change takes time.

Consider how you want to go about making your changes

You can try to make changes on your own.  Alternatively, you can try to make changes with a buddy or you can join a support group such as OA or Weight Watchers.  Individual therapy or a therapy group can help you because you can talk to an understanding therapist and or peers