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