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What You Can Do

Pick up a pen. Try keeping a food journal for at least a week to get in touch with the feelings and circumstances that are making you reach for food. Before and after you eat, gauge your hunger and describe what's happening and how you feel. This will help you identify which situations trigger eating.

Choose your comforts carefully. People who overeat often report that they mistake stress, anxiety or insecure feelings for hunger. If your food journal reflects that you turn to food when what you really need is some emotional comfort, you'll have to come up with healthier ways to soothe yourself. Try these suggestions from Dr. Adrian Brown, a psychiatrist in private practice in Washington, D.C., and associate clinical professor of psychiatry at Georgetown University Medical Center:
  • Take a bubble bath.
  • Go for a walk around the block.
  • Listen to your favorite music.
  • Call a friend.
  • Surf the Web.
You may need to reexamine your list and add to it from time to time.

Learn what true hunger feels like. Again, make use of the hunger scale to help you identify true hunger. This will help you limit your eating to times when you're physically hungry.

Seek help, if necessary. If you find that none of these strategies help, you should consider making an appointment to see a qualified health professional, such as a psychiatrist, psychologist or clinical social worker. There are a few different treatments for the condition, including cognitive-behavioral therapy, interpersonal psychotherapy and drug therapy.

For more information, check out Bob Greene's Best Life Diet website.

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