5. Keep an Eating Diary
Make notes when you eat. Did that extra ice cream make you feel good? If so, for how long? Did it really relax you? For how long? Did you spend the rest of the evening feeling bad about yourself? Was that treat worth the after effects?
6. Don’t Just Write in the Diary…Read It
Read your notes over the next time you decide you deserve a treat. Read them over two or three times. Then, if you still want the treat, eat it. Don’t dwell on it as a failure. Eat it, enjoy it and then consider if it really helped or if the good feeling was transient. Awareness can be a huge motivator.
7. Enlist the Help of Your Family
Enlist the help of your spouse or partner if he or she is sympathetic to your issue. Your mate wants to keep you healthy for a long time. It’s not just your elder who counts. You want a future. A healthy you will mean a happier you, which will make you a better caregiver now, and most likely ensure a longer, happier life for your future.
None of this is easy. Whether a person has trouble eating at all because stress diminishes the appetite, or a person overeats to get comfort, health can be affected. Just deciding one time that we will change our ways isn’t enough. We need to decide again each day – or each minute – whether we will change how we think about our body and our reward system and renew our commitment to this change.
Remember that you are not alone in your struggle. Try to find a sympathetic person or group to support you, and find something – anything healthy – to substitute for food when you need a reward. It will take time, but you can do it. If you don’t find a way, you may not be there to care for your elder when he or she needs you most. Beyond that, you deserve to be healthy and as happy as you can be.
Step Away From the Donut: The Perils of Emotional Eating originally appeared on AgingCare.com