Overeating is probably one of the uncommon problems of old age. Furthermore, it is easy for our senior parents to fall easy prey to it. Also, overeating does not always occur due to hunger or fondness for a particular food. But many times, it is the resultant reaction of emotional stress-eating.
It is the result of emotional stress and boredom. And is a much more severe issue than caregivers can even realize. Another critical point is this affects a majority of the senior population. In this case, we need to control emotional overeating to save them from various conditions.
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Loneliness and depression are culprits of overeating
It is equally important to realize; loneliness is almost an inevitable trend in old age. The majority of senior parents are often victims of depression and loneliness. In other words, the sudden loss of independence due to illness or accidents. It is coupled with isolation and its associated frustration. This can together contribute to emotional overeating in old age.
Defining emotional overeating
Another critical point, it is nothing more than a form of binge eating. Wherein our loved ones tend to seek solace from food. Furthermore, our loved ones begin to consider food as a means of driving away their boredom and overcoming their loneliness and sadness. Also, senior parents in daycare centers are more prone to practice such a form of binge eating. Despite this, they feel angry and frustrated with not being able to live life on their terms. In other words, they take food in place of love.
In fact, according to research, our stress response system does play a vital role in how our body craves food. Furthermore, when we experience stress, it is difficult for the neurochemicals to function normally—in other words, causing the body to release stress hormones known as glucocorticoids. These glucocorticoids cause the typical cravings for sugar and carbohydrate-rich foods.
In addition, indulging in foods high in fats and carbohydrates is pretty soothing and can help calm and soothe our seniors. As a result, this is why a bar of chocolate after a tiring day feels so soft and pleasing. Simple carbohydrates instantly lit up our moods. They soothe our emotions and temporarily make us happy. However, once in a while, indulgence is acceptable. We must realize that overeating carbohydrate and fat-rich foods can harm our senior parents. For this reason, family caregivers should be watchful of the pattern of their parents.
Reasons why your loved one is overeating
It is important to realize; there are various reasons why our loved ones turn to food for deriving emotional comfort. Another critical point is the sudden change in their lives due to illness, accidents, change of location, etc., may all coax them to overeat. Once in a while, it does not pose serious problems. However, regularly practicing it can certainly call for serious health risks to sneak in.
Various reasons that contribute to emotional overeating
With advancing age, health usually takes a back seat. As a result, we are affecting the mobility of our parents. Accepting such a change is difficult for our parents. And they may experience a kind of emotional turmoil. To deal with such a situation, our parents may turn to food to find comfort and solace.
The sudden change in health condition. The loss of a partner, family, or friend to death is a possible cause of depression in our parents. Experiencing depression often becomes one of the potential triggers of emotional overeating.
It is usual for our parents to experience loneliness after a certain age. Deterioration in health, immobility, and loss of independence. This all contributes to loneliness in our parents.
Signs that our loved ones are overeating
Struggling with it has become a common problem. Unfortunately, many seniors fall victim to such a practice. Recognizing the signs of overeating is very necessary to address the issue. And to make solid solutions for the same.
Essential indications of overeating.
Your senior parents reach out for high-sugar foods instead of healthy alternatives.
They feel hungry soon after eating a meal.
Your parents prefer junk food for all the meals of the day. They don’t like the regular food served and always order junk food for themselves.
You always observe your parents eat something or other.
You find your senior loved one to become cranky or angry when their comfort food is not available in the house.
Your parents continue to eat when they should have stopped after an appropriate proportion.
They seem to eat ample snacks between regular meals.
All the signs mentioned above indicate a severe problem of emotional overeating. However, the good news is that we can control it. And solved with the help of family and friends.
Tips to help overcome the problem
Our senior’s addiction to emotional overeating is a common problem. And we can prevent it by following some simple steps.
Practice stress-relieving techniques.
Since emotional stress is the foundation of emotional overeating, it is necessary to encourage them. To practice stress-relieving techniques to drive away stress. You can ask them to practice meditation regularly. Try yoga and also indulge in physical exercises daily. For example, walking every day for at least 30 minutes has kept them healthy. But also significantly reduces their stress.
It becomes essential to identify those triggers that upset your parents emotionally. Specific comments, situations, or conditions can put them under stress. And this will upset their mood. It is recognizing such triggers and finding ways to deal with them. This is necessary to curb overeating which inadvertently follows an emotional outburst.
Keep healthy food handy.
Certain “healthy” foods can help your body overcome the effects of stress. And also help decrease the cravings for sugar and carbohydrate-rich food. For example, consider keeping fruits where your parents are instead of reaching for comfort foods. In addition, you can keep washed fruits, vegetables, seeds, and nuts in the refrigerator.
Eating fast or gulping food with minimal chewing is one of the significant signs of overeating. This is because eating fast can trick your brain into signaling the body to eat more food to satisfy hunger. Therefore, you can ask your parents to eat slowly and chew the food properly before swallowing it.
Talk to your parents.
It is necessary to talk to your parents regarding overeating. And its associated harmful effects. Make your parents aware of the various health risks if they indulge in overeating regularly.
All the tips mentioned above are sure to help caregivers. This will help their elderly loved ones control their habit of overeating. It can be challenging to attend to your loved one with overeating, but it’s not impossible. With the proper knowledge, you can do this. Don’t forget about caring for yourself and keeping your business going while caregiving. I’m here to assist you on this journey. Schedule your planning session with me so we can look at how to keep your life and your business running smoothly. For more information, check out this site. Also, check out these posts on preparing and serving food and learning to shop for food.
This information does not substitute professional medical or nutritional advice and consultation. When differences exist between the information here and the information given to you by your healthcare provider(s), you should follow the advice of your healthcare provider(s). Any additional information or clarification should be sought from the Physician, Practitioner, Speech Pathologist, or nutritionist familiar with the individual’s health and medical conditions.
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