How Can I Manage My Weight in Recovery?
For many people, recovery means learning how to manage triggers and coping in healthy ways. Previous research has shown that addiction often leads people to either eat sugary foods with lots of carbohydrates or not eat much at all – in recovery, unhealthy foods may become a major craving as the body and mind attempt to adjust to life without substances. Weight management and nutrition therapy are incredibly important to your recovery success because they help ensure that your body is receiving the right vitamins and nutrients that it needs in order to function optimally. If you’re looking for healthy ways to manage your weight, there are several options you can ensue:
- Nutrition and hydration – as emphasized in a 2014 review published in Today’s Dietitian, nutrient deficiencies can easily lead to depression, anxiety, and low energy – all of which can trigger unhealthy eating habits and/or substance use. Be sure to drink 8 glasses of water each day, and take daily vitamins if you can.
- Reduce cravings – if sugary, processed foods are what you mostly consumed when your addiction was active, your body may very well want to cling onto this as it recovers. During the beginning of your recovery, you may find yourself having trouble differentiating between cravings and real hunger, as well as eating to fill emotion. Scheduling regular eating times and eating balanced, healthy meals is a wonderful way to help curb this.
- Mindfulness – although it may seem like an odd factor in managing weight, mindfulness can actually help people recognize emotional eating. Expert Ronald D. Siegel, assistant professor of psychology at Harvard Medical School, stated, “Very few of us eat solely based on hunger cues. We also eat to soothe anxiety, sadness, or irritation.” By learning when you’re really hungry versus when you’re wanting to eat to alleviate uncomfortable emotions, you’ll be one step ahead in managing your weight.
- Exercise – the most predictable of them all, getting adequate exercise throughout the week is a great step towards managing your weight in recovery. Speak with your healthcare team to determine the best exercise routine for you.
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