Most cultures use an abundance of food to celebrate special events and important highlights of life.
For example, almost everyone has eaten way too much at Thanksgiving or Christmas. While it’s normal to overeat occasionally, it can become a big problem when overeating becomes a way to deal with negative emotions. This condition is known as emotional overeating and it is particularly common in family caregivers.
Since April is Emotional Overeating Awareness Month, there’s no better time for stressed0out family caregivers to learn more about emotional overeating and what they can do to avoid it.
What is Emotional Overeating?
Food is both a reward and a necessity, placing it in an important spot in our hearts and minds. Emotional connections to food are very strong, and it can become a comfort to indulge in favorite snacks and large meals. Overeating can temporarily block feelings of stress, anxiety, fear, and frustration. When a family caregiver is dealing with a lot of stress without respite, they may turn to overeating as a way to cope.
Physically, emotionally overeating wreaks havoc on the body. It can lead to health issues like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, digestive issues, diabetes and more. Mentally, emotional overeating means that the person isn’t properly dealing with stress and other negative emotions. This can lead to feelings of guilt, shame and depression.
Family caregivers who find themselves using food to deal with the stress of caring for an elderly loved one need to recognize the behavior and take steps to get it under control.
How Family Caregivers Avoid Emotional Overeating
Since the trigger for their emotional overeating is stress and frustration with providing constant care, family caregivers can take the first steps in managing their stress levels. It’s important that they take care of themselves physically and concentrate on healthy meals, proper portions and plenty of exercise and activity. Often, removing the temptation of food can help family caregivers with their resolve to avoid overeating.
The second step is to alleviate some of the chronic stress they feel that is driving them to overeat. Too many caregivers shoulder the burden alone, so it makes sense for them to get some help. Asking and allowing other family members to assist the elderly adult can give the primary caregivers much-needed breaks. Many families also hire home care assistants to make regularly scheduled appointments to provide care. Home care assistants can help with housekeeping, meal prep, bathing, dressing, grooming and more. It’s an ideal option for a family caregiver that is taking on too much by themselves.
It’s unhealthy and dangerous for family caregivers to turn to emotional overeating as a means of dealing with their everyday stress. During Emotional Overeating Awareness Month, caregivers can focus on the problems they face and work on solutions to overcome their unhealthy coping strategy of emotional overeating.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering Elderly Care in Claremont, CA, call the caring staff at Aviva In-Home Care. Call today: (415) 795-2203
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