March 4, 2021

The Effects of Emotional Eating on Our Health

Show Notes

On this episode, Chuck Gaidica is joined by Dr. William Beecroft, medical director of behavioral health for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Blue Care Network. Together, they discuss the impact emotional eating has on our health and ways we can control it.

In this episode of A Healthier Michigan Podcast, we explore:

  • Why someone might turn to food when he/she is emotionally distraught.
  • What causes someone to turn to food more than others.
  • How emotional eating can impact our overall health and well-being.
  • The difference between emotional and physical hunger.
  • What we can do to ease our emotional eating.

Transcript

Chuck Gaidica:
This is A Healthier Michigan Podcast, Episode 75. Coming up, we discuss the effects of emotional eating on our health.

Chuck Gaidica:
Welcome to A Healthier Michigan Podcast. This is a podcast dedicated to navigating how we can improve our health and well-being through small, healthy habits we can all start right now. I’m your host, Chuck Gaidica. Every other week, we sit down with a certified expert to dive deep into topics that cover nutrition, fitness, and a whole lot more. And on this episode, we’re discussing emotional eating. That’s highly focused on something maybe we take for granted, but a lot of us go through issues with this, and it also has an impact on our overall health. With us today is the Medical Director of Behavioral Health for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and the Blue Care Network, Dr. William Beecroft. Dr. Beecroft, good to have you with us.

Dr. William Beecroft:
Thanks for having me today.

Chuck Gaidica:
Oh, yeah, sure thing. And I should tell everybody that you received your MD from Michigan State. Your residency, initially, in internal medicine, and then on to psychiatry. And you’ve been named a Distinguished Life Fellow by the American Psychiatric Association in 2018. That’s gotten me nervous. So, I just ate a half a bag of Oreos before I came on to talk to you today. Just kidding. But I mean, that is what we’re talking about. Somehow, some kind of trigger, stress or otherwise, can lead us to eat, overeat, or drink too much.

Dr. William Beecroft:
Absolutely. Yeah. The body, the way that it responds to anxiety and depression, or even just being in a funk, just being down in your mood, is it really releases more serotonin, and that’s the underpinning of the neurochemistry in all of this. Well, many of the foods that we eat are the precursors to that serotonin chemical in your brain. So, we crave those, and we do get symptomatic relief on a relatively quick basis, sometimes even five or 10 minutes after you’ve eaten something of, that’s high-calorie like that Oreo that you were talking about.

Chuck Gaidica:
Yeah.

Dr. William Beecroft:
You get a little bit of a perk in energy. You get a little bit of a perk in your mood, but there’s cost to that. And the cost is, is that unless you’re continuing to resupply those chemicals to be able to help keep that serotonin level high, you’re going to then drift back in that space, be more tired, fatigued, that sort of thing. So, it is a solution, but it is a short-term solution, and there’s other alternatives that you can use that can be longer term.

Chuck Gaidica:
And I want to unpack that and move toward that in a minute, but the notion that it’s not all sugar-related. I could binge on chicken salad. I mean, that may be the thing I turn to when I either get upset or I’m coming off of a high, and man, I just got a new job, and that’s the way I react to emotional eating. So, it’s not all about sugar, is it?

Dr. William Beecroft:
Oh, no, it isn’t. It goes into the old paradigm of, there’s three sources of calories. You have fats, you have carbohydrates, and you have protein. It could be any one of those, because those usually contain the building blocks of that serotonin that I was talking about, the amino acids, some more than others. But most of the time, people drift towards high calorie foods, fats, and sugar, because you get that rapid response and it tastes so good. I mean, that’s the thing is it really tastes good. Problem is, is that, as I say, it’s short-term solution for a longer-term issue of getting that stress under control.

Chuck Gaidica:
And there’s the phrase, we’ve all used probably our entire lives, comfort food, that somehow it’s making us feel comfortable. So, it tastes good, and then somehow there’s this interaction in the brain and otherwise, that’s just making us feel good that we’re doing something that’s helping us out.

Dr. William Beecroft:
Yeah, absolutely. That’s where it got its nickname.

Chuck Gaidica:
Yeah. And so, here we are, we come through the seasons still navigating out of the pandemic. And is it still called the COVID 15 pound gain? In this past year, I know that’s a nickname for it, but 47% of adults are now saying that they were eating more as a result of the pandemic. Are you seeing and hearing more about that from people?

Dr. William Beecroft:
Yes. And you’re lucky if it’s just 15.

Chuck Gaidica:
Is that right? Wow.

Dr. William Beecroft:
That is the issue, because it’s gone on so long. And we’re coming out of the woods, but we still got a long ways to go to get to the meadow, if you want to call it that, but it’s going to still be an issue for us. And that’s where changing your habits now can really be able to help get you prepped for when we are out of this timeframe that we’re in, that you can be in a more healthy space going forward.

Chuck Gaidica:
So, if we’re talking about this idea of emotional eating, there’s also the drinking part. And I know I’ve seen the stats. I can’t recite them for memory, but wine sales have been off the charts. I have a neighbor. I’m not going to call them out by name, but I have a neighbor pulled up the other day, and he opens his trunk cross the street, and he said, “Hey, hi.” I said hi, and I see him taking out a box, a case of wine. And after some brief talk, he said, “Yeah, I may drink a whole bottle tonight.” Now, I don’t know what’s going on, but I’m thinking to myself, that issue, not saying he’s alcoholic, but that issue of saying I’m going to drink a lot of wine, that’s sugar. I mean, it’s basically, to some extent, vacuous calories, and it doesn’t have to be all about eating. It can also be drinking too much cola, or too much wine, or too much something else, right?

Dr. William Beecroft:
Yeah. Alcohol, wine is a little bit different in the sense that it does have a whole lot of sugar in it also, that’s not fermented. But the alcohol itself, the only chemical that alcohol can go to is fat. It can’t be made into protein. It can’t be made into anything else in the body. So, the way you break it down is, you store it after it’s been metabolized. And if you took that six ounce, or nine ounce glass of wine that you drank, and just imagine that you’re holding two Krispy Kremes in your hand, and you’re actually going to be eating those. It can give you a visual image of how many calories you’re really taking in. That six ounce or nine ounce glass, nine ounce is probably going to be more like 150 to 180 calories, just in that glass of wine. You take a liquor and the equivalent amount of a liquor, and you’re looking at for an ounce of liquor, 85 to 120 calories, depending on what it is, just for an ounce.

Dr. William Beecroft:
And that’s the equivalent of a glass of wine. So, you get into that, you start looking at that. And the only thing that the liquor can really go to is, again, fat, because it doesn’t have as much of the sugar in it because it’s more fermented, and turned into alcohol. So, it all becomes numbers of, the calorie numbers and being able to turn things into the baseline of what you’re putting in your system.

Chuck Gaidica:
And so, you’re giving us a couple of different ideas here. At least I’m hearing you say, we can analyze this, try to come up with an analogy in our mind of what we’re actually holding, which may be one way to drive us away from it or say, “I’m not going to have that much. I’ll just have a couple ounces of red wine. Maybe it’s supposed to be good for heart health or something.” But the reality is that there must be ways that we can, not trick ourselves, but help ourselves to stay away from this notion of emotional eating, right?

Dr. William Beecroft:
Right. Exactly. And what you can do is you can select foods and entrees that you really want to have, that aren’t as calorically laden, that have the same kind of effect for you. And again, it goes back to fat has, for every gram of fat, it’s nine calories. For every gram of protein and carbohydrate, it’s four calories. And protein is very difficult for us to be able to metabolize, to digest, and then be able to utilize. So, that really is the one you want to go to. You want to go to a protein-laden snack, if you’re going to take a snack. Or if you’re going to have a meal, really work on the protein, because it takes longer for it to ramp up in your system. You don’t get a sugar buzz off of it, and you don’t get that really massive calorie intake from fatty containing foods.

Dr. William Beecroft:
Although fat tastes really nice, you have to have some mix of all of these different things. You can’t just eat all protein. I suppose you could. But it wouldn’t be very pleasurable to be able to keep you coming back to it, which you have to look at this on a long-term basis. You want to come back to foods you’re going to like. So, looking at tree nuts, not peanuts because that’s a legume, it’s a in the ground, versus in a tree, they have protein, but they also taste pretty good. They got some fat in them, and they can fill you up pretty quickly without taking three handfuls. You can take 10 or 15 nuts and be able to be satiated. So, it keeps your caloric intake down to 75, 100 calories, somewhere in there. So, you don’t get a big burst of food, but you get enough to not be hungry, and eat when you are hungry.

Dr. William Beecroft:
So, if you don’t then eat the wasted calories like you talked about, the vacant calories that really didn’t give you any benefit, but eat when you’re hungry, takes that edge off of that hunger before your next meal, that’s really a way to be able to just strategically look at this. And there may be some techniques. One of the things that I used for my patients for years was being able to take a three by five card, and be able to do, when they had feelings of being down in the dumps, sad, blue, or anxious, to be able to go do some type of behavior that moves you from where you are, physically moves you, you got to get up and go do it. Usually involves some type of exercise that you like, walking, biking, swimming, or just doing housework, being able to do your laundry, whatever it is that would get you physically moving, and that it takes about an hour to 90 minutes to do.

Dr. William Beecroft:
And that’s enough time for your brain to really start getting into a different rhythm, a different way of thinking. You start thinking about, because your left brain is busy doing the activity, your right brain continues to think, and you come up with different ideas. And by the time you move on, you’re not thinking about being hungry anymore. You’re not thinking about the worry, the anxiety that you had. And if you are, you pick up the next three by five card that has another series on it, and you do that. You can put these on your refrigerator, you can put them on your medicine cabinet, someplace where you can just pick them, and you do the first one on the list. You don’t sort through them. You just do the first one on your list and you’re good to go. And most of the time people feel better after that first one, that they can really start to get back into a rhythm and get on with the rest of their day.

Chuck Gaidica:
And I’ll bet you some people actually find that rhythm within what, 10 or 15 minutes maybe. I mean, that’s a great idea, and it also seems like it would be hard to walk around the house eating Slim Jims, or something, while you’re trying to put 5,000 steps on your phone. So, there’s a benefit of maybe drinking water and keeping you away from the food, as well as giving you a healthful thing to make your mind sail away.

Dr. William Beecroft:
Yeah. Well, those kinds of things, that behavioral activation, getting out and doing things, uses up some of that extra, and again, I won’t to go into the whole bunch of the neurotransmitters in your brain, but uses up some of that energy, and uses it in a way that’s helpful for you. You’re burning a few calories while you’re doing it.

Chuck Gaidica:
Well, I think there are a lot of assumptions wrapped up in this idea of emotional eating. One assumption for me, I’ll just admit it, would be that somehow this is only going to pertain to people that somehow have abundance. That I’ve got so many choices of things to overeat on, that that’s my issue. But for many people, it’s not so much a matter of abundance. It’s a matter that their context, where they live, how their surroundings play a factor into this idea of emotional eating can be a stressor all by itself. They just don’t have access to healthful food all the time. Am I on the right path there?

Dr. William Beecroft:
Oh, absolutely. Yeah. The people that live in food deserts, the only source that they have is small corner stores, these sorts of things. And the proprietors, they’re going to supply things that people want to eat, which is usually high calorie, fatty foods. So, if you can be somewhat selective, and use something that has more protein, in particular, you’d pick up a protein bar versus a Snickers bar, or even jerky is a protein. You could use something like that versus picking up a bag of chips. You’re going to actually have a better food source and have more likelihood of being able to be satiated, whereas a bag of chips is not going to do that for you, with less calories, and be able to be healthier in the long run.

Chuck Gaidica:
And that idea of a food desert, it oftentimes, and let’s be fair, you’re talking about a corner store. If you’re lucky, it may just be the convenience store that’s part of the gas station. So, you walk in and you don’t have the plethora of apples, and vegetables, and great looking bananas today. And I mean, you just don’t have those choices that can fill you up. You may have to make decisions between the honey bun and the chips, or something. So, that’s what makes it real tough.

Dr. William Beecroft:
Oh, it’s absolutely difficult. I used corner store, but you’re absolutely right. My image is the gas station associated convenience store. Yes.

Chuck Gaidica:
Yeah. So, emotional eating can be so many different things. I remember my late mom who, before she was in the last stages of Alzheimer’s, used to tell me that the news of the day got her nervous. And holy cow, have we come through a period where the news of the day, just take six months, can be a year, has been getting to a lot of us. So, this idea of what can we do to really distance ourselves. Part of it is may be to turn off the stuff that’s making you anxious, maybe literally, if not figuratively.

Dr. William Beecroft:
Absolutely. Limiting the times that you check your phone with the news outlets, or watching the TV, listening to the radio. We have just an absolutely wonderful communication source, but you can also get overwhelmed with that, and it can really feed on itself. When there’s some type of real significant national catastrophe, you’ll hear about it, and then you’ll be able to get on the radio to understand the details of it and what you’re supposed to do. But on the routine quibbling about which party’s doing which, and all this stuff, boy, it just takes a huge amount of energy, and we really don’t have a whole lot to control it in the first place. So, really, look at the things you can control, be able to mobilize your energy to be able to have your voice heard, but paying attention to every nuance detail just takes up a huge amount of energy and gets people really anxious.

Chuck Gaidica:
And the idea of how this emotional eating is really affecting our body, we discussed some of this, but medically, what do you see manifest in people that are around you, that patients you’ve worked with? If you go down the path a little bit more, that emotional eating becomes a recurrent issue in your life, how are you seeing that manifest itself in people? What’s happening to their overall health down the line?

Dr. William Beecroft:
Well, down the line, you start drifting into a lot of the other medical problems that can be consequences of being overweight. When your BMI goes up over 30, you’re, at that point, obese, and your rate for hypertension, strokes, heart attacks, all of the cardiovascular illnesses is substantial. You look at cancer rates of people that are eating high calorie food, and get into that category of a BMI over 30, their cancer rates are much higher. So, that sedentary, you don’t even have to be sedentary, but if your calories that you’re eating are more than what you’re burning, you’re going to drift up to that. A pound of weight is 3000 calories. So, we talked about that glass of wine. If you keep drinking that additional glass or bottle of wine for about two weeks, you’re going to have an excess of 3000 calories, unless you’re working out to burn it off.

Dr. William Beecroft:
And so, you’re going to gain a pound of weight over that two week period of time by drinking that bottle of wine a night. It doesn’t take long for you to have that 15, 20 pounds over a six month period of time. It just adds up. So, then it’s going to put you into a situation, especially with the hypertension and the heart disease. That’s going to be the thing. And diabetes, once you get into that, then you’re going to start getting into diabetes, which can cause blindness, can cause kidney damage, all kinds of peripheral neuropathy, so you can’t feel your legs and your hands, after a period of time, years of diabetes, if it’s not controlled.

Dr. William Beecroft:
So, it’s a bad course to get on, and you really have a choice to be able to change it. Now, when I say that, people will say, “But look, Doc, I’ve been this way all my life.” And I’m not saying that everybody has a choice of their biochemistry. I’m fully aware of it. I’m overweight myself. I keep on working at it every day of my life, and I’m still bouncing around at 26, 27 BMI. So, I know it’s not a choice choice, but you can make choices in the foods that you do eat, and how you’d be able to try to take care of yourself, as best you possibly can.

Chuck Gaidica:
Well, and there’s also a balance here that we should point out, and I’m not defending wine by any means, but we see these studies. They pop up in supermarket tabloids, and we see them on our phones, or wherever. There’s still a moderation that we can employ. I mean, to have a small bag of chips with your lean turkey sandwich at lunch isn’t going to break your entire life. And also I suspect having a four ounce glass of red wine every once in a while isn’t going to do you in, right?

Dr. William Beecroft:
Absolutely. Yeah. Moderation is the key. And being able to have a mixed diet, you need those amino acids to be able to build the proteins to keep your muscles strong, to be able to do the normal processes, and the vitamins that you get in variety of food. Americans, even with the diets that we do have, really have access to all the vitamins and all the nutrients that we really need. We’re lucky in that sense that we have access to this in most areas, but not everybody has that, and that’s the real issue here.

Chuck Gaidica:
And we’ve also seen things that I think can be maybe related in many ways, this idea that sitting around a lot is the new smoking. It’s just not healthful that we’re, a lot of us have been able to work from home for a lengthy period of time. You couple that with a pretty intense winter here in Michigan, thank you, and then you’ve also got emotional eating, and it all comes together. So, this idea of getting up and moving that you suggested, even if it’s in your house, walking around in circles, it sounds strange, but it can distract you from the eating, and I suspect kick your steps up a notch, if that’s the minimum you’re trying to do.

Dr. William Beecroft:
Sure. It doesn’t take very long at all to debilitate. There was a study done back in the mid-seventies, and they took a 21-year old marathon-trained runner, put them in bed, not sick, just put him in bed for 24 hours. It took that person about three days to get back to the same level of function. You take a 70-year old marathon-trained runner, so a really fit 70-year old, put him in bed, took him 10 days to get back to the same level of aerobic status.

Chuck Gaidica:
Wow.

Dr. William Beecroft:
So, it takes only a very short period of time of sitting around, and you become debilitated. You become weaker. You don’t have the strength and stamina. And it takes a fair amount of time to get that back depending on your age, obviously, longer as you get older, unfortunately. So, getting up, moving around, that’s really good for you. Even if it’s not going much further than the door, or going to the postbox to get your mail, that’s something. And being able to do that, that’s really helpful.

Chuck Gaidica:
It’s funny, I’ve got a smartwatch, so obviously it’s smarter than me, Doc. And it now tells me, and it’s astounding to me, at the times that I typically need my watch to tell me to breathe. I mean, it’s just crazy to think about, but it will come at the time where maybe I’ve got a little stressor, or it’ll say, “Time to stand.” And it’s like, okay, well, it’s helping me along. And I think some of the side benefits of technology today, whether it’s your phone, or a Fitbit, or a watch, or whatever it is, those things can be helpful to help not distract you, but to actually encourage you to do some of this other stuff.

Dr. William Beecroft:
Yeah. They prompt you. I think it’s rather than distracting you, I think they can prompt you. Because you can get really tied up, and say you get working on a project on the computer, or doing email, you can get really tied up for hours and just lose track of time. You don’t remember you’re thirsty and this kind of stuff. Whereas if you have something like that to be able to remind you, “Hey, get up and get a glass of water and go for a little walk,” that is really helpful. It breaks your train of thinking, gives you a chance to really come back and be more energized, and it can actually make you more productive, if you’re working from home, to be doing those sorts of things.

Dr. William Beecroft:
There’s a reason that we have the idea of every two and a half, three hours you should have a 15 minute break. And it’s because it actually makes you more effective to take that break and be able to, if you need to get a power nap for 20 minutes and then go right back at it. You’ll actually do more work and be more effective in what you’re doing.

Chuck Gaidica:
Yeah. That’s interesting. And you talked about the idea of the emotional hunger versus physical hunger, but if we’re trying to be more self-aware, what is it that we’re looking for in our own behavior that’s maybe the precursor? It’s like there’s pre-diabetes and diabetes. So, neither one is great, but at least pre-diabetes giving a signal where you could be headed. What are the signals that our body may be telling us that we’re headed into emotional hunger, and it’s not really physical hunger?

Dr. William Beecroft:
Yeah. I think the emotional hunger would be more characterized by not truly being hungry, physically hungry, but being that you’re in a habit, that you think about, “Well, I’m going to go get some chocolate chips or something from the pantry,” rather than being physically hungry. Different people perceive hunger differently. I am one of those people that perceives hunger as pain. It’s not just a discomfort for me. Some people it’s just a discomfortable period for them. So, being able to understand what your body’s trying to tell you, looking at, are you lightheaded and dizzy? Are you getting to the point you’re getting hypoglycemic, not having enough sugar, because you haven’t eaten in, say, six hours, and you’ve been so tied up in thinking or working, physically working, that you have just forgotten about it, been so distracted? That is the physical hunger symptoms that you’d be looking at.

Chuck Gaidica:
And are you a fan of the idea that if you had three meals in your day, and maybe a snack here or there of a protein bar or an apple or something, you’ve had an average day and you’re full, that at some point in your day, call it 7:00 at night, pick a time, all the way to the next morning. If you’re not feeling that physical gnawing, the pain of hunger, are you a fan of just saying after a certain time at night, cut it off? And it actually turns into a bit of a 12 hour fast, if you look at it that way, but do you think that that’s helpful for us to look at not letting our snacking meander its way all the way to 11:00 PM, or midnight, if we’re binging on our favorite show?

Dr. William Beecroft:
Absolutely. And there’s a good physiologic reason that I’m not sure we have time to be able to talk to you about, but there’s what’s called our diurnal rhythm. So, it’s a rhythm that we have with all of our hormones in our system. Primarily, it’s going to be insulin, but you also have another one called cortisol, which is an energy hormone, that you have a peak at 7:00, 8:00 in the morning, goes down to a low point right after lunch. If you have lunch, 1:00 or 2:00, and then you have another peak at 4:00. Not as big as the first one. And then it drops down to its lowest point at midnight, and then comes back up the next morning.

Dr. William Beecroft:
If you’re snacking through that late afternoon or evening, you really mess up your insulin production, your cortisol level, and you get that diurnal rhythm, which really sets our day, really messed up, and that will then cause you to not feel well in and of itself. Because you’ll never know when to go to sleep. You’ll never know when to get up, feel rested, to really be ready for the day. It just takes you off your cadence and your rhythm. So, making sure that you stick with that, that’s going to be very helpful for you. And emotional eating late in the day can really set that off in a way that you really don’t want it to.

Chuck Gaidica:
And I suppose that could also set us up for a bad cycle that starts the next morning, when we’re regretting the fact that we stayed up and ate half a cake, and now we’re emotionally stressed out that we did something bad, if you will, last night, and it just of meanders. It just can become a perpetual cycle. Yeah.

Dr. William Beecroft:
Those people then go to the coffee pot, drain the coffee pot. Well, coffee is good for you in moderation. I used to drink an awful lot of it, but problem is, is coffee has a very short half-life. It also uses up your sugar energy, primarily. And then about 10:00 in the morning, or 11:00 in the morning, you crash because the coffee has used up all your energy, and now you’re hungry. So, it really becomes a vicious circle there on that side.

Chuck Gaidica:
Is that because of caffeine? I mean, if you switch to decaf.

Dr. William Beecroft:
Yes.

Chuck Gaidica:
It is? Okay.

Dr. William Beecroft:
It’s the caffeine that does it. Decaf doesn’t have that same drive. Although, even decaf coffee has about 3% caffeine. It’s not the 100% percent caffeinated coffee.

Chuck Gaidica:
So, you shared with us ways that we can ease our emotional eating. You’ve given us some of the ideas about getting up and moving, even using three by five cards or technology, but what are other ways that we could cope with stress, which can lead to emotional eating? What are some of the other ways that we can look to help us out with stress?

Dr. William Beecroft:
Well, one of the ways is really that you can talk about mindfulness or meditation. For people that have a religious orientation, prayer is actually a structured meditation. So, those can be very helpful. Being able to do some planning, some future planning, really set some time aside for you to just be able to be and be in the moment. Listen to the sounds around you, listen to, be able to watch the birds outside, or be able to watch the grass grow, if you want to think about it like that. But really being in that moment, clearing your mind, clearing your thinking, and being able to really focus your energy on that, actually helps clean your thinking up, and you can be able to then come back much more invigorated and jump back in the space of what you’re doing.

Dr. William Beecroft:
That can be very helpful for you. And if you do that a couple of times a day, you practice that, your body learns when to expect that you’re going to do it, and then it actually adds to itself on top of itself, to be able to help you be more resilient, if you want to think about it this way, to the ups and downs that happen in our lives. You get bad news and you can bounce back much more easily from that when you’ve done these kinds of things, and prepared yourself for that.

Chuck Gaidica:
Yeah. And you’ve conjured up a mental picture for me. We’ve got a couple of dogs, and back in warmer weather, we’ve got a two year old dog that’s got two speeds, low and way high – or kind of off and way high. But when I see her laying out where she’s in the sun, she’s just looking around at birds. She’s not barking, jumping. And I just look at her and I think in an envious way, I think, “Wow, is she just de-stressed?” I mean, this dog is just laying there, soaking in, listening to birds chirp. And that’s what you’re saying. We should all strive for that, whether there’s snow outside or we get to the warmer air, which we know is coming, is to find those ways, go out and garden, do something that takes your mind and just relaxes you.

Dr. William Beecroft:
Yeah. You have to grab the day you have.

Chuck Gaidica:
Yeah.

Dr. William Beecroft:
And I’ve always said, you got to grab it with both hands and hang on for the ride, because you’re never going to get another day like this. And it’s like that. Being able to really savor those moments and give yourself the acknowledgement that it’s okay to take five minutes, or 10 minutes, to do that for yourself, because then you can be able to do for others, and you can help be more productive in your work, or whatever else you’re doing, taking care of your family, or whatever else it is. But savoring it is really the important piece of this. Otherwise, you go through a day and it’s like, it’s gone, and well, what happened today? “Well, I went to work.”

Chuck Gaidica:
Yeah. Well, it is that, and I think you’ve given us so many good ideas and so much information. As you look at everything we’ve discussed, what are some of the key takeaways for you then of things that we should concentrate on relative to emotional eating?

Dr. William Beecroft:
Eat when you’re hungry. If you’re not hungry, look at doing something else, something that’s behavioral that can take your mind off of just focusing on what you think would help you. The mind doesn’t hear no. So, if you say, “No, I can’t have that bag of chips,” all it hears is bag of chips. So, if you say, “In general, I’m just feeling stressed right now, maybe I should go for a walk,” your mind is going to hear, “I should go for a walk.” So, those kinds of things are those things to really be doing. try to really set those up, the three by five card idea. That has worked. I practiced in Lansing for 35 years until I went into the insurance business here. I had lots of patients doing that stuff and they liked it, and it worked.

Chuck Gaidica:
That’s great. And that’s a good way to kick it along. I remember, I still have, we have five kids. I have kids that have picked up a habit that my parents had. They use post-it notes, and I thought it was just for something who was quite well into their senior years, to remind them. But it really is a great hack. It’s a great way to have a reminder that’s physical. I love that idea that it’s something you can touch too.

Dr. William Beecroft:
Yeah, absolutely.

Chuck Gaidica:
Well, Dr. Beecroft, thanks so much for guiding us through this whole topic of emotional eating. And thank goodness, I don’t think I’ve got the COVID 15, or 19, or whatever it is. I turned myself toward working out. It’s not quite working out all together, but it certainly has given me the best distraction in this timeframe. So, thanks again for all your help today.

Dr. William Beecroft:
You’re welcome. Stay well.

Chuck Gaidica:
Yeah, you too. And thank you for listening to A Healthier Michigan Podcast. It’s brought to you by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. If you like the show and you want to know more, you can check us out online at ahealthiermichigan.org/podcast. You can leave us reviews or ratings on Apple podcast, or Stitcher. And don’t forget, you can get all the new episodes for your smartphone or tablet. You can take them with you as you’re trying to walk around the house, or you do get outside. Be sure to subscribe to us on Apple Podcast, Spotify, your favorite podcast app. And again, we’re up to Episode 75, so a lot of great resources with all the previous episodes that could tie into this, maybe some great ideas for your own personal health journey that will help you out. I’m Chuck Gaidica. Take good care.