The connection between mood, food and weight lossEmotional eating is eating as a way to suppress or soothe negative emotions, such as stress, anger, fear, boredom, sadness and loneliness. Both major life events and the hassles of daily life can trigger negative emotions that lead to emotional eating and disrupt your weight-loss efforts. These triggers may include: * Unemployment * Financial pressure * Health problems * Relationship conflicts * Work stress * Bad weather * FatigueAlthough some people actually eat less in the face of strong emotions, if you’re in emotional distress you may turn to impulsive or binge eating — you may rapidly eat whatever’s convenient, without even enjoying it. In fact, your emotions may become so tied to your eating habits that you automatically reach for a sweet treat whenever you’re angry or stressed without stopping to think about what you’re doing.Food also serves as a distraction. If you’re worried about an upcoming event or stewing over a conflict, for instance, you may focus on eating comfort food instead of dealing with the painful situation.Whatever emotions drive you to overeat, the end result is often the same. The emotions return, and you may also now bear the additional burden of guilt about setting back your weight-loss goal. This can also lead to an unhealthy cycle — your emotions trigger you to overeat, you beat yourself up for getting off your weight-loss track, you feel badly, and you overeat again.
Archive for the ‘Emotional Eating’ Category
I thought you might like to hear how the Feeding Your Soul(tm) process works with some real life participants. So when Chuck Batson asked to interview me for his Raw Foods list, I agreed provided he let me use the tapes.
It turns out we both learned quite a bit…
I think of Raw Foods as “Craving Killers”… not so much as a fanatical diet (you know I hate that word). I genuinely believe that a good percentage of our cravings for sugar and starch could be better classed as a “green deficiency” than a food craving.
Glenn and I constantly find the more greens we add to our diet, the less we crave our “unhealthy” favorites. Anyway, it was a GREAT interview (but it DOES start a little bit slowly, please give it 10 minutes to warm up!)
Have a listen now, won’t you?
It’s tempting for those of us who really believe in the EMOTIONAL side of overeating to consider psychology to be the be-all/end-all solution. As in … “As soon as I solve my emotional problems, my eating problems will disappear”.
Well, as powerful an impact as emotion has on eating, the reverse is ALSO true, and understanding how nutrition impacts your psychology is a critical component of learning how to control your weight without guilt, stress, or deprivation.
Marla Friedman, Ph.D. is my special guest for today’s interview, which I hope you’ll find as incredibly empowering as I did.
Please have a listen now…
PS – End your battle with food and gain lasting confidence in your ability to control your weight with the Emotional Eating Power Pack
One of the most painful parts of emotional overeating is the constant “food chatter” inside our heads. For many people, thinking about and planning their next meal overtakes so many more precious and genuinely pleasurable things in their lives, they’d be happy to skip over any weight concerns if they could just turn off the food thoughts.
Well, it turns out, paradoxically, that the reason food thoughts get the better of us is because we’re so frightened of them, and we criticize ourselves so harshly for having them.
Learn how to safely bring them into the light, and they lose their power, much like the ghosts and goblins of lore.
In this short but powerful MP3, Glenn and I discuss why it’s so hard to recognize the cause, and how you can start to take control of those annoying “feed me” voices in your head.
I really hope you’ll listen. It’s less than 15 minutes and it really could change your life.
And I hope you’ll also consider beginning to end your battle with food with the Emotional Eating Power Pack
All my best,
One of the most interesting things I’ve learned about overeating is how, for people who LOVE food, we sure do make a habit of checking out before we eat it.
It’s like we feel so guilty before we even take the first bite, we don’t even give ourselves the gift of being present, tasting it, letting it nurture and nourish us, enjoying every last bite. (Thanks to Geneen Roth for pointing this out)
And it turns out there are THREE very good scientific reasons to do so:
First is something called “Taste Anesthesia”: Our taste systems are set up to gradually desensitize themselves to delicious tastes with repeated exposure. In plain English, the first bite always tastes best. Think of the explosive flavor when you haven’t eaten something in a long time. But then, with each passing bite, it tastes a little less delicious, until, you kind of wonder why you craved it so strongly in the first place…
IF you’re present and paying attention, you’ll naturally notice this gradual decrease in pleasure, and you’ll just stop eating when it’s time. But if you “check out” and just put the food in your mouth ’cause you feel like you shouldn’t be eating it, well, then, it has the opposite effect.
In other words, we might all THINK feeling guilty about our food “indulgences” is what’ll help us stop. But in reality, it’s exactly the opposite!
The second reason to be 100% present when you eat delicious food is because you won’t absorb the same amount of nutrition if you’re not. Seriously, there’s been scientific research which shows people who eat when they’re distracted, stressed, or otherwise unhappy don’t show the same level of increased vitamins and minerals in their system after a meal as those who do. And if you don’t get the nutrition from the food you do eat, you’re gonna want more.
The last reason to drop the guilt, eat with 100% presence, and thoroughly enjoy your food is for your mental health. Food is life. It sustains us. It nurtures us. And WHEN YOU ENJOY YOUR FOOD YOU TELL YOURSELF YOU DESERVE TO LIVE.
When you feel guilty, chastise yourself, or otherwise check out because you don’t have time to be present, you’re going to ADD to your stress level, not decrease it. Because telling yourself you don’t deserve to eat is like telling yourself you don’t deserve life. YOU DO!
I know it sounds crazy, but I hope you’re starting to see that the solution to overeating, binges, and yo-yo dieting is to EAT YOUR WAY OUT OF YOUR EATING PROBLEM (a phrase I learned from Carol Munter). The first step is dropping the guilt, allowing yourself to be 100% present, and enjoying every last bite with gusto without distraction.
If you’ll do that, I know you’ll find it’s almost impossible NOT to stop when you’re full.
Your taste buds will tell you. Your body will tell you. Your soul will tell you.
All my best, Sharon
Sharon Livingston, Ph.D.
PS – Have you seen the Emotional Eating Power Pack yet?
Hey … we’re so accustomed to struggling with mindlessly overeating, we never top to think if there might be a way to leverage this tendency in our favor. Brian Wansink, Ph.D. (author of “Mindless Eating” and director of the Cornell Food and Brand Lab) has spent a lifetime doing just that, and in this very intriguing interview, Sharon talks to him about emotional eating, the “mindless margin”, and some very practical and simple changes we can all easily make to easily and painlessly eat less… without even realizing it!
I have to warn you in advance Dr. Linda Bacon’s got some controversial advice about emotional eating, overeating, dieting, and weight loss. In fact, I was initially very hesitant to interview her or read her book “Health at Any Size” because it’s got a section with the provocative label “Get Fat It’s Good for You?”
But when I read the book and did the interview, I have to tell you she came off with such incredible credibility, honestly, and a mountain of scientific proof behind her, that I now think anyone and everyone needs to hear her message. I’ve become one of her biggest fans.
Linda does NOT want everyone to just eat Twinkies and buy a larger pair of sweat pants. What she DOES want is for us to realize our society has over-demonized weight as the culprit in disease, and dramatically over-emphasized thin as the standard of beauty. Further, in her book she eloquently illustrates how the scientific evidence for the dangers of obesity are exaggerated and supported more by ties to industry than a virtuous search for the truth.
Would Linda like you to eat more vegetables, exercise, get more fresh air, and take care of your body, mind, and spirit? You bet she would.
Would she like you to obsess about every pound on the scale beyond your “magic number”, torture yourself when you pass a mirror, or feel like a second class citizen because you don’t meet some mythical ideal?
Well worth the listen!
Carol Munter is one of the original pioneers of the anti-diet approach to overcoming overeating, binges, and yo-you weight loss and weight gain. In this wonderful 33 minute interview, Sharon gets her to share the essentials of her approach. Enjoy!
Carol’s Book: Overcoming Overeating (website is OvercomingOveating.com)
Emotional eaters are so frightened of them. As if the very thought of food was going to lead to an everlasting binge. So we live our lives looking for that perfect, safe little box we call the miracle diet. You know, the one that’s going to last forever, bring us perfectly sized thighs, a narrow waist, and the eyes of every last man on the planet.
Except that perfect diet doesn’t exist.
Diets tell us “you’re not trustworthy”.
Diets tell us “you don’t deserve”.
Diets tell us “you’ll get used to being hungry”.
Here’s why this makes me so mad–Our bodies are little natural miracles!
All by themselves they regulate hundreds (or thousands) of biological processes, letting us know what to “DO” to be sure we don’t die. They make sure we get just the right amount of water, they keep our temperature in a very narrow range, they regulate potassium, sodium, and hundreds of additional minerals and enzymes, tell us when to go potty, sleep, run, fight, and more.
So why in the world shouldn’t we trust them to tell us what to eat?
But that frightens you, right? It frightened me too, at first. (Very much)
But then I studied weight loss, dieting, and most especially emotional eating for years. I thought I was going to find a grand secret (so did Glenn). Then I finally realized the secret is that there IS no secret!
We don’t realize the wisdom of our bodies because we’re too way pre-occupied to pay attention. We’re not really present when we eat. (Thanks to authors Geneen Roth, Carol Munter, and Linda Bacon for finally putting this together for me by the way, I intend to do my best to get each of these expert authors recorded and podcast as soon as possible)
Turns out being present (really present, as in not doing anything else, and thoroughly enjoying the pleasurable sensations) increases our absorption of nutrients and triggers our satiety mechanisms. But because we feel so guilty about what we eat, and we’re so distracted by TV, family, the car, our work, the computer, etc…. we’re really NOT there when the food’s going down.
As a result, we never feel satisfied, and no amount is enough.
Of course, adding to this is the processing of food, and addition of chemicals which bypass our satiety mechanisms. (Did you know high fructose corn syrup gives you calories, but doesn’t trigger your “full switch”? Brilliant and profitable invention for Corporate America. Not so good for its people!)
Seems as soon as the world figured out we don’t mind our “McMortgage” so much as long as we have our “McMuffin”, it’s been downhill from there.
What’s a girl (or boy) to do?
Celebrate your cravings.
Try experiencing your food again, you just might be surprised at how little it takes to please you.