Caregiver in Soldotna AK: Emotional Overeating is Common in Family Caregivers

Emotional Overeating is Common in Family Caregivers

April is Emotional Overeating Awareness Month, a time to examine the causes and cures of emotional overeating. Family caregivers are an especially high risk group that struggles with emotional overeating.

April is Emotional Overeating Awareness Month, a time to examine the causes and cures of emotional overeating. Family caregivers are an especially high risk group that struggles with emotional overeating.


Emotional overeating is a problem that affects people of all ages, and it is a particularly unhealthy habit because it leads to weight gain, poor nutrition and an emotional dependence on food to control feelings. It’s a common occurrence in family caregivers that don’t have regular help with their aging loved one’s home care. When family caregivers have little assistance with senior care, they are more prone to emotional overeating.

Because emotional overeating is tied up with heavy and negative emotions like guilt, boredom and frustration, it can be a red flag for family caregivers that there are deeper issues that need addressed concerning home care for their elderly loved one.

What is Emotional Overeating?

Emotional overeating is an unhealthy relationship with food that takes place when people turn to it as part of an emotional relationship instead of a nutritious or body-conscious one. Most people celebrate with food and conversely turn to comfort food when they are sick, stressed or sad. Food is linked to feeling better in the brain, and instead of dealing with emotions in a healthy way, food and binge eating becomes a habit where people turn to first.

Why are Family Caregivers at Risk for Emotional Overeating?

Taking care of an elderly loved one without assistance can be very stressful and often frustrating. There can be a lot of isolation, loneliness and guilt associated with family caregiving. Often, family caregivers are simply bored as they attend to their elderly loved one’s daily needs. They may also feel overwhelmed with the caretaking and be experiencing worry and fear. There are a range of negative emotions that can trigger emotional overeating.

In other cases, family caretakers are busy with their own families as well and feel lots of guilt about dividing their time. It’s not uncommon for busy people to overlook the amount of food they eat, the frequency of when they eat, the nutritional values in what they eat, and more. Coupled with lots of stress or boredom, it’s easy to see why adult children of elderly parents can quickly fall into emotional overeating.

How Family Caregivers Can Avoid Emotional Overeating

When family caregivers recognize that they are using food in an unhealthy way, they can take the steps needed to cope with their emotions in a different way. First, they need to become aware of each time they reach for food, asking themselves if they are really hungry or not. It needs to be a completely conscious decision on whether or not to eat the food.

Family caregivers also need to recognize the triggers for what makes them reach for food. Boredom, frustration and stress are among the top triggers. Instead of reaching for chips, ice cream or donuts, caregivers need to find other ways to soothe themselves. Ideas include listening to music, taking a short walk, reading, laughing, and finding pleasurable rewards that don’t involve food. Getting some time away from the elderly loved one, such as when a home care aide is present, is an excellent way to reduce stress and loneliness. By really focusing on the triggers for emotional overeating, family caregivers can break this bad habit and regain their former health and wellness once again.

If you or an aging family member are considering caregiver services in Soldotna, AK, please contact the caring staff at TLC Home Care today. (907) 336-CARE

Source:
https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/inside-out/20...

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