An enduring problem associated with strategies aimed to reduce obesity, or at least to make the obese healthier, is the “one size fits all” approach. It is rarely cost effective to work with an individual patient to figure out why weight was gained or perhaps regained. It takes time to figure out how lifestyle may contribute to overeating. Does the patient get enough sleep, or eat to stay awake? Is the patient overwhelmed by work or caregiving, perhaps for an elderly parent or disabled spouse? Is the overeating a response to depression, anxiety, social isolation, marital, financial, or other problems — or simply loneliness? Could intuitive eating work for everyone? The reasons for weight gain are not intuitive; nor, it seems, is the solution.
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Fortunately, the increase in emotional comfort and decrease in stress experienced after eating carbohydrates is not dependent on changing food choices or new foods entering the supermarket. Carbohydrates will elicit a positive mood, regardless of whether the food was also eaten by one’s grandparents or is new to the contemporary eater. After eating pasta or quinoa, oatmeal or farro, or orange or purple sweet potatoes, relief from feeling down or anxious or tense.
By eating healthy, low fat carbohydrate options like sweet potatoes and whole grain crackers rather than candy, you’ll eat less, have the benefit of nutritious foods, your cravings will be satisfied sooner, and you’ll be more likely to avoid unwanted weight gain due to SAD.
Perhaps a new approach to supporting weight loss should be to use music to enhance better food choices and control over portion sizes. A playlist may be just as effective as a food list in helping people avoid emotional overeating, and is certainly much more entertaining.
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Do you feel like you are constantly eating, but you aren’t exactly sure why? Do you continue to eat until your body feels uncomfortably full?