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Caring is the Key

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I have developed a repertoire of activities I can engage in instead of eating compulsively. My overeating often stemmed from a misguided attempt at self-care; I thought I could make myself feel better by eating. Therefore, my efforts to avoid overeating revolve around taking better physical, emotional, and spiritual care of myself:

  • I write about what I am feeling and why I want to eat. Awareness of underlying emotions helps me deal with them and move on.
  • I exercise. Walks around my neighborhood or quick spins of a workout DVD help release my tension and anxiety.
  • I contact someone. Talking to someone on the phone (or via email) gets me out of my head so I can take the focus off food.
  • I pet my cat. My cat loves attention from me, and when I am busy petting or brushing him, I’m not eating.
  • I take a bath or shower. This provides some sensory stimulation, especially when I use scented bath products, and it fosters relaxation.
  • I read literature. Reading diverts my attention away from food, and it frequently provides answers to whatever problem I may be struggling with.

Avoiding compulsive overeating means developing new and different coping skills that enable me to deal with emotional ups and downs with grace and dignity. Caring for myself is the key.

— M. H., University City, Missouri USA

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