Could Your Parent Be Engaging in Emotional Overeating?

It’s no secret that obesity is a serious health problem in the United States. Approximately 34 percent of adults in America are obese. Obesity can lead to serious conditions, like type 2 diabetes, coronary artery disease, and cancer. Of course, the answer to losing weight is simply to eat less, right? If only it were that easy. There are many factors that influence a person’s weight and even how much they eat. One thing that can affect a person’s eating habits are emotions. This month is Emotional Overeating Awareness Month, a good month to learn how the emotions of your senior parent may be affecting how they eat.


Recognizing Emotional Eating

Emotional eating occurs when a person eats in response to the way they are feeling. Usually people eat because they are feeling bad. They might eat as a reaction to:

  • Stress.
  • Anger.
  • Fear.
  • Boredom.
  • Sadness.
  • Loneliness.

People who are emotional eating aren’t doing it because they feel hungry, and the eating doesn’t fulfill a physical need. Instead, they’re eating to suppress negative emotions. Lots of people reach for unhealthy foods, like ice cream or fatty foods. Indulging in a favorite food when they’re feeling blue once in a while is okay, but when it becomes a pattern, the result can be unwanted weight gain.


Tips for Managing Emotional Eating

The first step in managing emotional eating is recognizing that it is happening, and when. Having a conversation with your parent about emotional eating can be difficult, but it may be necessary. If you’re having trouble approaching the subject, it might be helpful to ask their doctor to assist. Once your parent recognizes that they engage in emotional eating, some tips for helping them control it are:


-Identify Triggers: Many things can bring on emotional eating. To identify your parent’s triggers, encourage them to keep a food diary. They should write down what they eat, when they eat, and how they are feeling at the time. Senior care can help with this step by helping your parent to fill out the journal.


-Avoid Boredom: Staying busy can keep your parent from eating. When they are tempted to reach for a snack, a senior care provider can ask them if they really feel hungry or if they might be bored. If they are bored, a senior care provider can suggest an activity, such as a puzzle, a walk, or a game of cards.


-Keep Healthy Snacks on Hand: Don’t keep unhealthy foods in the house. Instead, a senior care provider can prepare healthy snacks in proper portions that your parent can grab when the urge to eat hits. For example, a senior care provider can cut up some fresh vegetables in put them in snack sized bags.


Overcoming emotional eating is something that is hard to accomplish alone. A senior care provider can be a great support for your parent. People are sometimes less likely to give in to emotional eating if someone else is around, especially if that someone is a senior care provider who knows they want to eat more responsibly.


If you or an aging loved-one are considering Homecare in Braselton, GA, please contact the friendly staff at Certified Home Care of Georgia. Call today 770-635-8042