Coping With Food Abuse
In a study to find out the psychology of food consumption, it was found out that an individual has a strong tendency to eat only a single unit of food, regardless of the size or caloric value.The concept of unit bias helps explain how environmental differences in portions and package sizes impact overall consumption and may provide a foundation for a better understanding of the psychology of obesity.
In this competitive world where women have multiple roles to play, most women hold their feelings or keep emotions to themselves in some cases. Sometimes to escape from problems, these women find ways to release their stress. Many women retort to eating, seeking pleasure in doing so and as ways to cope with their problems in life. Thus women many times find solace and comfort in food.
If you tend to abuse food, you may find value in the following list of practical coping strategies.
1. Work on separating food from emotional satisfactions. Say to yourself,"Food is not love," "Food is no substitue for sexual gratification," "Food does not help me cope in the long run with depression, anger or boredom," "It is childish to express my anger by eating. I'm only for love in the foods I eat, I'm looking for love in all the wrong places."
2. If you are using food as a tranquilizer, look for other more effective and less self-defeating ways of reducing anxiety.
3. If you believe that you have been "picked" by your parents or other family members to be the "fat one", consciously reject this role. Recognize it as a victim's role, as the result of accepting a status passively and without sufficient examination.
4. Make a functional analysis of your maladaptive eating habits. This involves listing each habit on a piece of paper and identifying what triggers the habit, such as a given time of day, the behaviour of other people, a mood, a special occasion, the sight or smell of food, and so forth. Now brainstorm each habit and try to come up with ideas for modifying or breaking it. Jot these down as they occur to you. Work on one habit at a time, starting with the easiest one first.
5. If you believe that you suffer from hypoglycemia, look for long-run, not short-run, relief. You can accomplish this by avoiding snacks high in sucrose and refined carbohydrates. Instead select snacks high in fiber and/or protein. Examples of good snack foods are both nonfat and low-fat milk, whole wheat bread, an apple or an orange, a few unsalted or dry roasted peanuts, or a broiled chicken breast. Such foods will give you relief, sustain your blood sugar at an optimal length for a longer period of time and help you stop abusing food.
6. If you suffer from anorexia nervosa and are in a power struggle with a parent or parents, become conscious of the fact that you are acting as your own owrst enemy. You are, as a familiar saying goes, "cutting off your nose to spite your face." If you lose your health while "proving that your parents cannot boss you around and tell you what to do, what is the real benefit to you? The answer is,"None". Look for healthy ways to assert your autonomy. There are times when you might feel you must go against your parent's wishes, but do no tmake food the weapon and the dining table the battleground. It is a sham battle that makes no sense and has little basis in reality. Fight for your real rights, not symbolic ones.
7. Be aware of the fact that advertising is designed to appeal to your childish self, to your impulsive nature. When you go to a grocery store, make a list not only of foods you intend to buy, but of foods you intend not to buy. Learn to resist suggestion.
8. If you find that you cannot cope adequately with a tendency to abuse food, there are a number of ways in which the professions of psychiatry and clinical psychology can help you. For example, taking a psychodynamic approach, a therapist will help you become familiar with the specific ways in which you abuse food to satisfy emotional needs. The best approach in therapy is one that fosters understanding of why you abuse food combined with practical methods indicating how you can break and modify your habits.
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