Before and after cremations in Waverly, NY, the relationship between bereaved people and food can become quite complicated. Death creates a lot of anxiety and stress, and grief taxes us emotionally, mentally, and physically. When people are under these conditions in life, they generally respond to food in one of two ways.
Some people can’t eat at all when they are stressed and anxious. They simply stop eating and they are not hungry. Other people, however, go to the opposite end of the spectrum when they are experiencing extreme emotional upheaval and they compulsively eat, whether they are hungry or not.
Emotional overeating is common among people who, under normal circumstances, try to eat healthy diets, exercise regularly, and maintain other good health habit, but who, emotionally, throw all of that out the window in times of intense stress.
Part of this tendency to overeat when stressed comes from the dopamine high that eating comforting foods – which are usually full of fat, full of sugar, and full of carbohydrates – can provide. So if a scoop of Ben & Jerry’s Peanut Butter Cup ice cream hits the spot and temporarily takes the edge off of grief, then the brain says, “Imagine how much better I will feel if I eat the whole container!”
That’s how overeating works. It’s a stress reducer and it numbs the pain and other emotions temporarily, but it can also, if done long-term, create more issues than the temporary salve it’s putting on intense grief.
One issue that may come from extended overeating to assuage emotional trauma after the death of a loved one is unwanted weight gain and the creation of health issues, such as cardiac problems, high blood pressure, and Type 2 diabetes, related to the weight gain.
Another issue that arises from habitual and long-term overeating is that shame, and guilt suddenly join grief and anxiety to create even more stress, which can drive the overeating engine into a vicious cycle that is difficult to break.
Extending overeating may also produce constant fatigue. A diet that’s saturated with fatty foods, high sugar foods, and carbohydrates wreaks havoc with glucose levels, which when out of balance can create extreme fatigue.
Mood swings are also a common issue that arises with long-term overeating. Part of this is related to glucose levels, but it is also related to the stress/grief/shame/guilt cycle that overeating can produce.
Binge eating is a common form of overeating. Binge eating is consuming a lot of food, not because the person is hungry, but simply because it’s there and they want to eat it all. Binge eating is very unhealthy because it can lead, because of the guilt/shame emotions, to eating disorders like bulimia.
Emotional overeating usually begins with a trigger. To get a handle on it and break the cycle, the person has to know what their trigger(s) are. Since grief is complex, it’s wise to consider counseling (it doesn’t have to be specifically grief counseling) to help understand the emotional overeating triggers (identify them) and come up with effective and healthy ways to manage those.
If you’d like information about grief resources after cremations in Waverly, NY, talk with our knowledgeable and compassionate team at Roberts Funeral Home for guidance. You can visit our funeral home at 279 Main St., Wellsburg, NY 14894, or you can contact us today at (607) 734-7811.