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Prescription poundage
Some meds may fix your problem, but make you gain weight at the same time

By LAURIE ARENDT

"Everyone has seen those stereotypical commercials with the woman curled up on the couch with her glass of wine and slice of cake after a long day," says Dr. Ted Weltzin, director of eating disorder services at Rogers Memorial Hospital of Oconomowoc. Weltzin explains those commercials play on the idea that a hardworking man or woman "deserves" a treat by the end of the day.

People have a natural tendency to justify the things they want and advertisements help to further convince people they not only want good-tasting food, they deserve it. "As Americans, we associate eating abnormally with good things such as celebrations," says Weltzin. "When we feel deprived of those good things we try to compensate with food."

Emotional eating plays on irregularities of feelings, schedules, anxiety levels, etc. Therefore the definition of healthy eating, according to Weltzin, is a structured eating routine that includes balanced portions of all the food groups, while eating preferences in moderation.

So what do you do if you realize you have an emotional eating problem? Here are several suggestions from Weltzin :

1. Keep a journal of your meals and snacks and record how you feel while youíre eating.

2. Examine your feelings and try to pin down where in life you arenít feeling satisfied.

3. Find someone to talk to, such as a close friend, or seek professional counseling.

4. Find a new, healthy coping strategy to replace indulgent eating. Exercise is one of the best options because it reduces stress and boosts confidence. Taking a walk after dinner every night is a good way to start.

Eating problems are often indicators of a more serious mental health issue; therefore it is important to receive a professional assessment when eating problems recur.