Emotional eaters tend to lose the least amount of weight and have the hardest time keeping it off. Then there are those who are looking for the next sugar rush, sticking to bad habits or viewing the lack of food as their only vehicle to weight loss. Whether you’re a diet junkie, a comfort eater or a binger, most people fall under one of these categories. Here’s how to snap out of your problematic patterns and find the right solution that works for you.
We know that the more people report eating in response to thoughts and feelings, the less weight they lose. Amongst successful weight losers, those who report emotional eating are more likely to regain.
Weight loss is one of the top resolutions made every year, yet 80 percent of people do not achieve successful weight-loss and maintenance. There are six top reasons dieters don’t achieve success.
Many women expect diets to change their body shape, which may explain why some, frustrated by the lack of effect from their efforts, have trouble maintaining specific diets and revert to specific dietary patterns. If women are dieting with the belief that weight loss will lead to shape change, they will fail to achieve their aim and this is reason that diets are likely to be short-lived and, ultimately, unsuccessful.
Women with high waist-to-hip ratios WHRs typically believe that, through dieting, they can develop pear-shaped bodies. These expectations do not stem from women’s misperceptions of their current body shape; most women, pear-shaped or not, correctly identified which image best represented their own WHR which is only one measurement of body types.
Internet dieting has exploded in the last few years, attracting many different types of eaters who generally lack the time to attend face-to-face meetings or those too embarrassed to get on a scale in front of strangers and admit their problem. However, being anonymous helps many of these people keep faithful records of their weight without the pressure of weigh-in meetings. Here are the 6 most common eaters attracting to self-help dieting forums and the suggestions to resolve their problem:
1) THE NIBBLER: You snack throughout the day — whether you’re hungry or not. You reject formal diet plans because you think your way of eating is better but never seem to lose weight.
The Problem: You’re constantly thinking about the next snack. You’re in danger of eating too much, too often.
The Solution: Stick to three meals a day plus two healthy snacks (such as fruit, carrot sticks or oat cakes with hummus), and eat nothing else in between.
2) THE GORGER: Though you want to lose weight, you find yourself consuming large amounts of junk food or ready-to-eat meals.
The Problem: This pattern is driven by emotional triggers — you gorge if you feel lonely, anxious or annoyed. But by giving in to them, you’ll only perpetuate self-loathing.
The Solution: Exercise to boost your selfesteem. Use mindfulness skills to regard food as sustenance, not a reward.
3) THE DIET JUNKIE: Whether it’s Atkins or Dukan, you try every new diet. Not bothered by nutritional content, you view food (or the lack of it) as the only vehicle to weight loss so you’re constantly diet-hopping.
The Problem: The lack of nutrients in your diet puts your body in ‘protective mode’ holding on to every last ounce of fat, leaving you feeling dissatisfied and guilty.
The Solution: Stop thinking extreme dieting will help you achieve physical perfection. Switch to a balanced diet and eat smaller portions.
4) THE BINGER: You have steely willpower and eat healthy food 90 per cent of the time, but can swing from extreme control to a moment of madness with high-sugar binges.
The Problem: Binges derail all your good intentions and can have an addictive effect. This style of eating comes with emotional baggage, often including strong feelings of guilt and shame.
The Solution: Relax your strict rules and allow yourself regular treats of ‘forbidden’ foods to stop the desire for massive binges.
5) THE ZOMBIE: You eat out of habit and routine, barely conscious of what you eat. Your diet is likely to be monotonous.
The Problem: You’re likely to eat highly processed, refined foods that lack nutritional value but are a quick fix.
The Solution: Stop eating in front of the TV or at your desk. Eat good food and savour every mouthful.
6) THE COMFORT EATER: You eat for emotional reasons, using food to fill a void or distract yourself from painful feelings.
The Problem: You’re out of touch with your hunger signals. You deny yourself good, healthy balanced meals at the expense of processed and calorific foods.
The Solution: Mindfulness exercises (such as pausing for 10 seconds before you eat anything) will help you to curb the habit of overeating.