Monday, January 4, 2010

Denise Lamothe, Emotional Eating Expert -- My New Year's Message to You

Happy New Year to you! If you are like most, you have made your commitment to change your lifestyle and to treat yourself in healthier ways than you have in the past. Perhaps you have the goal of getting rid of those extra pounds. Well, you can do it! But, and it’s a big but (not butt) because we live in a food focused environment.
Have you ever paid attention to how focused our culture is on food? Virtually every occasion we experience has food as a central theme. Think of Thanksgiving without turkey and pumpkin pie or Easter without candy eggs. How about Valentine’s Day with no chocolate, birthdays or weddings with no cake or even meetings without refreshment breaks? How often do we get together with friends without including food? We ask people to meet us for breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner. We invite them over for coffee or a drink. When was the last time someone asked you to get together just to spend time enjoying each other’s company? Food is everywhere and a part of nearly every occasion.
It is important for us to ask ourselves these questions. How can we take care of ourselves in this food-oriented culture? How can we socialize with friends, celebrate birthdays, go to fine restaurants and relax about it? How can we manage to enjoy ourselves, eat only some of what is offered and feel satisfied? How can we survive this constant exposure to food? If we eat too much, the result is anxiety and we will want to eat to medicate this feeling. If we eat too little, we feel deprived and set ourselves up to binge later. If we have weight to lose, we feel anxious about that and if we have lost the weight we wanted to lose, we feel anxious that we will gain it back. (Many women report that they find it much harder to maintain weight loss than to lose the weight in the first place.) So we eat because we have not lost weight and we eat because we have lost weight. What a dilemma! At either end of the scale, anxiety lurks and if we don’t know healthy ways to cope with the anxiety, we eat.
Focus your energy on taking gentle care of yourself. Make your resolution to be as self-loving and joyful as possible and do what you love. The rest will be ever so much easier to manage and emotional eating will recede into the background!

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