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Do You Overeat When Life Feels “Out of Control?”

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Do you overeat when you feel like life is out of control, when you feel overwhelmed, or when you feel stressed? Examining the way you approach the issue of control in your life can have a tremendous impact on how you feel and on your eating.

One of my biggest rules for stress management is, when things feel out of control, it's crucial to identify the parts of your life that you can control and take charge of these with purpose. During stressful times, a critical mistake we make too often is letting go of the small things we can control because we are so focused on worrying about things that we can't. This contributes to overwhelming emotions, and for many, triggers overeating or emotional hunger.

Having control, or taking control or taking charge is one of the most powerful things we can do. It's one of the primary ways that we can be effective in our lives. Feeling out of control can be a very scary feeling place; and countless years of energy have been wasted by people, including me, spending time and effort trying to control things we really have no power to control at all.

I believe that one of the greatest gifts we can give ourselves is taking the time and effort to identify the places in our life where we have control and also the areas of our life where we don't. Knowing what we can control and what we can't empowers us to be effective. It allows us to target our behavior in ways that will be rewarding. Spending our time and energy trying to be in control of things that aren't possible to control isn't just inefficient. When we try to control things that are not within our control, we not only waste valuable energy, we create stress.

Here are some examples:

I can't control someone else's reaction or someone's behavior. I waste my time worrying about the weather. I cannot control what I will weigh if I step on the scale today and I have no control over how long I am going to wait for my doctor's appointment this afternoon.

These are all things that can't be changed and focusing my energy on worrying about them or trying to make them different is only going to leave me worried and possibly feeling out of control.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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