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HUNGER, EMOTIONAL EATING & PRODUCTIVE COPING (5/21/22)

Updated: May 23

HUNGER, EMOTIONAL EATING & PRODUCTIVE COPING





  1. Hunger is biopsychosocial

  • Biology = hormones such as ghrelin & leptin) as well as neural inputs

  • Psychosocial = social cues, cultural norms, circadian cues, moods, education levels, socioeconomic status

  • Lower socioeconomic status increases risk of obesity & increased appetite (cheap food is often less filling & calorie dense, high stress, less sleep etc)

  • Brain interprets these endless inputs to formulate an output

  • Unfortunately, these inputs are not always “alarms” that must always be acted upon

2. Behavior modification is key (yet it’s complex)

  • “Reward centers” of brain are activated during eating & many become addicted to the positive sensation leading to a negative coping strategy

  • When tempted, consider reflecting for 5 minutes (set timer)

  • Journaling, meditating, talking & exercising are more productive coping strategies

  • Reward yourself in more positive ways

  • Weekly or monthly bonus to spend on hobby?

  • Optimizing daily schedule, planning ahead & digging into culprit of stress is KEY

  • Professional guidance from Behavioral Therapist and/or Registered Dietician is OK

3. Tips

  • Prepare food in advance so there is less temptation to grab fast food

  • Track bodyweight and calorie intake daily for self-accountability

  • Befriend individuals with similar goals (social support)

  • Avoid purchasing highly palatable/desirable “trigger foods”

  • Sugar + salt + fat = hyperpalatable food (baked goods, chips, candy, etc)

  • Stick to mostly high protein and fiber foods throughout the day

  • Stock kitchen with lower calorie yet satiating foods (fruit instead of candy, air popcorn instead of chips etc)

  • Divide hyperpalatable foods into individual serving sizes using zip-lock bags or similar (only the self-disciplined)

  • Stick to pre-planned serving size and immediately follow up with another activity to shift attention (walk, shower, call a friend etc)

  • Much like sleep, routine is key

  • Eat similarly each day (meal timing, frequency, quality, serving sizes etc)

  • Budget greater volume food during time of day you typically enjoy eating more

  • Avoid boredom (stay busy)

  • Give yourself 8 hours of sleep opportunity each day













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