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Emotional Eating and Common Food Challenges

People tend to bury their feelings in food. Food is often used as a comfort source for many emotions. It’s like our best friend. Bariatric surgery provides a tool to control your portion sizes and combined with our program, can teach you to choose your foods wisely.

Bariatric surgery does not change your life in terms of job, family and other psychosocial aspects. If some areas of your life are causing you to eat you might want to take a step back and evaluate the situation. You must try very hard not to use food as an outlet. Set consistent meal times and follow that routine.

Understand the difference between physical and emotional hunger. Physical hunger is the physiological need to eat and it builds up slowly. You can eat a small portion of food and be satisfied. Emotional hunger on the other hand is triggered by a psychological aspect and it hits you suddenly. You develop craving for a particular item and you can eat large portions of that item. Here are some pointers to help you along the way to tackle emotional eating.

Get out of the kitchen

You need to remove food as an easy temptation and reward. If you find yourself using your kitchen as your home base then you need to find a different outlet. This is especially important if you find yourself with feelings of food related anxiety. Break your pre-surgery routine. Instead of reaching for a snack, take a short walk outside. Perform a series of stretches. Putting some distance between you and your temptations will help your self-control and your ability to replace unhealthy reward with life-affirming activities.

Plan your meals and know your emotions

  • Plan your meals and snacks. If you have planned meals and snacks, you will be able to detect emotional eating easily if you are looking for food outside of your normal routine.
  • Identify your emotion associated with eating. Are you eating because you are stressed, bored, guilty, angry, sad or happy? Once you identify the emotion, it is much easier to cope with it.
  • Surround yourself with healthy food choices. If you have a pint of ice-cream in your freezer, you might decide to help yourself in the middle of the night. If you know you can’t control yourself then it is better not to have the food in your freezer.
  • Attend support groups to develop strategies and to have an outlet. Talk to you doctor, registered dietitian or psychologist to find different coping mechanisms.
  • Keep a food journal.

Ask yourself the following questions

If you suddenly crave for something when you have already eaten or if you begin to get feelings of food anxiety, you might want to consider the following questions:

  • Why do I want to eat this?
  • Am I upset about something?
  • Am I angry about something?
  • Is there something that I need to do that I am putting off?
  • Will something else satisfy my craving?
  • Do I really need to eat this?
  • Am I lonely?
  • Am I bored?

Once you have answered these questions and examined your feelings, you might decide not to eat the high caloric food you are craving. At first, taking this type of mental quiz might seem unnatural and uncomfortable. Nevertheless, it is the kind of mental exercise which helps you identify your feelings. Acknowledging your feelings and accepting responsibility for your actions is a very important part of your recovery and long term success.




This blog is here to assist you in obtaining information about Bariatric Surgery and also give you the opportunity to ask questions you may have. Our hope is that this will encourage you on your journey to better health. If you are interested in our program, you can find links to our Web site for additional information or to find a Bariatric Surgeon. I can always be contacted at 845-333-2123.

Weight Loss Surgery Blog

Orange Regional Medical Center is designated by the American College of Surgeons Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program as an Active MBSAQIP Center. This designation recognizes Orange Regional as demonstrating an unparalleled commitment and ability to consistently deliver the highest level of bariatric surgical care possible. Earning the MBSAQIP Active Center designation also distinguishes Orange Regional from other providers in both professional and patient situations.

Orange Regional Medical Center offers three minimally-invasive weight-loss procedures called Gastric Bypass, Gastric Banding and Sleeve Gastrectomy. These bariatric services can help you get back on track to living a fuller, healthier, more active life. And because these leading-edge procedures are offered right here in this community, you won't have to travel far from home to receive the best in quality care.

To learn more about bariatric services at Orange Regional Medical Center, visit

About Seth Judd, M.D.

Dr. Judd received his Medical Degree from Sint Eustatius School of Medicine, Netherlands, Antilles. He completed a Residency in General Surgery at Harrisburg Hospital, Harrisburg, PA, where he served as Chief Resident. Dr. Judd completed a Fellowship in Minimally Invasive and Bariatric Surgery at Penn State Hershey Medical Center, Hershey, PA. He is a member of The Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons (SAGES), The Society of Laparoendoscopic Surgeons (SLS) and The American College of Surgeons.

About Janet Kovler

Janet Kovler, M.S., R.D., C.D.N., C.D.E. is Orange Regional's Bariatric Surgery Program Manager. She received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Dietetics from the State University College at Oneonta and her Master of Science in Education from Queen’s College University. She is a Certified Diabetes Educator, a Registered Certified Dietitian, an American Heart Association Certified Cardiovascular Counselor and a member of Phi Upsilon Omicron National Honor Society. She brings more than 27 years of clinical, educational and leadership experience to Orange Regional.