Are you feeling overwhelmed, tired and frustrated about your family caregiving situation?
Is your only real break time from caregiving when you eat meals and snacks?
Have you experienced recent weight gain?
Do you feel sicker than usual?
Are you ashamed of how much you eat and snack on when you are alone?
If you answered yes to some or most of these questions, you could be dealing with caregiver stress that is manifesting as emotional overeating. Because April is Emotional Overeating Awareness Month, people are taking a closer look at emotional overeating and how it can negatively impact health and wellness. As a family caregiver, you are at a higher risk than most for chronic stress and emotional overeating. Take the time this month to look at your own situation to see if you are an emotional overeater.
What is Emotional Overeating?
We have an intense relationship with food. Not only does it provide our bodies with fuel to sustain life, but the type of food we eat affects our health. Emotionally, we have a strong connection with food as well. Food is an enjoyable reward, a source of pleasure and even takes center stage at holidays and celebrations. Unfortunately, overeating can also become an effective way for people to hide their negative emotions and feelings.
Emotional overeating is a condition where a person indulges in food to cover up negative emotions like frustration, anger, sadness, jealousy and anxiety. For a short time, overeating an make someone forget about their problems. However, because the feelings are temporary, they rush back with more intensity. Also, the person often feels shame and disgust at their eating habits, causing more stress.
Health Effects of Emotional Overeating
Of course, overeating leads to all kinds of physical health issues. Among the most common are high cholesterol, high blood pressure, malnutrition, obesity, diabetes and digestive issues. Mental health is at risk as well because emotional overeating can emphasize everything from anxiety and eating disorders to depression.
When a family caregiver is emotionally overeating, they are not dealing with the chronic stress in their lives. Chronic stress can lead to health problems as well, such as a higher risk of heart disease. Family caregivers must address the emotional overeating and the source of stress to overcome the problem.
Preventing Emotional Overeating
The immediate thing that family caregivers can do to eliminate emotional overeating habits is to get rid of food temptations. They should only keep healthy food around and focus on moderate portions. Regular exercise can also help break the habit of overeating.
Of course, relieving the stress of caregiving is the best way to break the influence of emotional overeating. Many families turn to senior care assistants to help with their elderly loved one. Senior care aides can pitch in and do housework and laundry. They can bathe, dress and groom the elderly parent on a regular schedule, freeing the family caregiver up to do other things.
If you feel like you are losing yourself to family caregiving and turning to food as a short-term comfort, take the necessary steps to break the habit of emotional overeating. During Emotional Overeating Awareness Month, you’ll have lots of resources to get you to a happier, healthier place.
IF YOU OR AN AGING LOVED ONE ARE CONSIDERING SENIOR CARE IN LONSDALE, MN, CONTACT GOLDEN HEART SENIOR CARE OF BLOOMINGTON AT (612) 369-0481. OUR CARING STAFF CAN ANSWER YOUR QUESTIONS!