Few things are more stressful than a house fire. You could find yourself living in a strange place … you might have to deal with noisy contractors repairing the damage … and you may have to deal with suddenly unfriendly insurance agents.
One of the biggest effects of being under such tremendous stress is weight gain.
This is because many of us result to what is called “emotional eating” during difficult times – like in the aftermath of a house fire.
Don’t let this happen to you!
Here are some tips and information to help you guard against emotional eating as you go through the process of repairing or selling a fire damaged house.
Reasons Why Emotional Eating Leads to Weight Gain
There are two main reasons why people who engage in emotional eating may put on weight:
- Unhealthy eating. Individual tastes in foods differ, but often the types of food perceived as the most pleasurable and therefore most effective at producing feelings of comfort are foods such as chocolate, crisps, biscuits, cakes, etc. However, these foods often contain high amounts of sugar, trans fats or calories and tend to be associated with weight gain.
- Excessive eating. Emotional eating usually occurs outside of, and in addition to, a person’s usual meals. It usually involves eating to excess for the simple reason that emotional hunger is not easily satisfied.
The Signs of Emotional Eating:
- Obsessive thoughts about food.
- Episodic binge-eating with awareness that the pattern is abnormal.
- Fear of not being able to stop voluntarily.
- Feeling out of control.
- Self-deprecating thoughts following binges.
- Depressed mood.
- Eating little in public.
- Hiding evidence of having eaten.
- Cycling through dieting, bingeing and remorse.
- Labeling specific foods as ‘good’ or ‘bad’.
- Disconnection from signals of hunger/satiety.
- Large weight fluctuations.
- Preoccupation with body image.
- Restricting activities due to embarrassment about weight and/or eating habits.
- Difficulty identifying feelings and needs.
- Intense fear of anger and conflict.
- Impulsivity in other areas of life.
- Food is used as a reward, for nurturing and for excitement.
Strategies for Overcoming Emotional Eating After a House Fire
Recovery starts with the willingness to be honest with yourself. It requires facing and dealing with emotions openly and responsibly.
Sometimes professional help or joining a support group can help, as can talking things over with a trusted friend.
There is no diet or magic pill that will make you better. Emotional eating is not just about food; it is a coping tool for handling life.
Changing your thinking makes it possible to change your feelings and behavior; but developing willingness and learning new skills is a process, not an event.
Just as it takes time to develop an emotional eating pattern in the first place, it also takes time and effort to rebuild trust and gain back the power of choice.
Recovery requires effort, determination, support and motivation. There are bound to be setbacks and moments of fear and frustration; but support will help you to get through these trials safely.
As you learn to be more honest with yourself and to be more open with others, you regain your authenticity, perspective, and empowerment. The truth – your own truth – sets you free.
Breaking the cycle of emotional eating can be difficult, but it is possible.
Above all else, it’s about being conscious and having the awareness to identify your eating triggers. Awareness alone however, is not sufficient to alter eating behavior.
Usually, by the time you have identified a pattern, eating in response to emotions or certain situations has become a habit. Now you have to break that habit.
Identifying eating triggers is the first step. However, this alone is not enough to change longstanding eating patterns.
Developing alternatives to eating is the second step and the tips below can help with that.
10 Ways to Overcome Emotional Eating
- Learn to differentiate between physical hunger and emotional hunger. Ask yourself if you are really hungry or if you just want to change how you feel. Wait a few minutes to see if the urge to eat goes away. Have a glass of water.
- Choose alternative sources of comfort such as talking to another person about how you feel or doing something you enjoy, such as listening to music or reading a book.
- Use relaxation techniques or channel your negative feelings into physical exercise.
- Choose healthy snacks instead. Replace the unhealthy foods in your house with healthy ones. This means that unhealthy foods are less accessible, so that when you do eat you are eating more healthily.
- Eat more slowly, savor each mouthful and take pleasure and enjoyment in the food you are eating.
- Learn to recognize your triggers for emotional eating. Make a note of the times, people, places or situations in which you tend to eat to feel better and look for any patterns. This can help you to plan in advance how you might cope differently.
- Listen to your feelings. The more emotions are ignored, the more strongly they tend to return.
- Deal with the uncomfortable feeling itself by trying to identify what is causing you to feel this way. Think about what changes you might be able to make.
- See yourself as others see you. Often we are our own harshest critics. Visualizing the qualities seen in you by a person who loves and appreciates you can help you to break patterns of self-criticism.
- Eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full.
5 More Ways to Overcome Emotional Eating After a House Fire
- Try to avoid sugar and artificial sweeteners. Some studies have found that artificial sweeteners actually increase cravings and hunger and may even cause weight gain in the long run by interfering with satiety hormones.
- Build your support network. This could mean joining a support group or an in-person weight-loss program. Or, it may be as simple as knowing which friend or family member you can turn to for support and motivation when you begin eating in response to stress. Whether they’re an e-mail, phone call, or visit away, reaching out to others for help is crucial.
- Get up and move. Instead of reaching for a snack, go outside for a brisk five-minute walk or walk up and down the stairs a few times. A burst of activity may help suppress your appetite. Simply moving around or fidgeting may help alleviate tension, so if you have been seated at your desk or phone for a while, just get up and move a little even if you can‘t get away for an actual walk. This is quite individual though, as many people find that intense exercise increases their appetite.
- Get regular exercise. Experts agree that regular physical activity is one of the most effective ways to deal with stress. It helps to regulate cortisol levels, it can help alleviate depression, and it will help you get a better night’s sleep – just don‘t exercise within a few hours of bedtime.
- Consider relaxation exercises that ease your anxiety, such as imagery and guided visualization, deep breathing, and meditation. Or maybe try an activity that combines relaxation with physical activity, such as tai chi or yoga.
Lower Your Stress Level by Selling Your Burned House
Selling your burned house to We Buy Fire Damaged Houses can be a great way to lower stress – and the risk of overeating – that comes with repairing or trying to sell your damaged house For Sale By Owner.
To learn if your house qualifies for a free quote, fill out the form below to get started.