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Archive for May, 2012

Recently, in my practice, I’ve had clients who claim they are emotional eaters.  That is, they feel the need to eat when they are stressed, feel depressed, are angry, have anxiety, have low self-esteem, feel bored or they feel they are trying to compensate for a lack of something in their lives.  That said, I think it’s time to discuss the complex issue of emotional eating.

To start off on a very positive note, we are so lucky to have found Diane’s wisdom and be followers of The Metabolism Miracle.  One of the most wonderful reasons to follow MM is that MM removes carb cravings.   By following MM correctly, physically, we lose our cravings.  It is a scientific fact.  That puts us so far ahead of the game in the world of weight loss.  This fact helps us to stay on track and continue with our healthy goals.

Even though in our Met B world, we are following plan, have lost our carb cravings and are feeling and seeing success, I think it is safe to say, some of us may still have issues with eomtional eating.  In this Lynn’s Place article, we will look at emotional eating, overeating and what we can do about it.

 

Emotional Eating

 

Negative and Positive Emotions

 

Emotional eating is eating to soothe or relieve our emotions. Emotions, both negative and positive can make us get into eating to deal with emotions.  Of course we all know the negative reasons of emotional eating as I stated above.  The so-called positive side of emotional eating could include eating to take a break, using food for social situations or celebrations.   At times, we all are all vulnerable overeating in order to assuage these feelings.  A good practice may be to look at the varied reasons behind our emotional eating, even when we may emotionally overeat neutral foods while on plan.  In taking a look at this, it is my hunch, we can feel better about ourselves, not be so frustrated with weight loss results and follow plan more effectively.

 

 

Off Plan Vicious Cycle

On the other hand, if we are going off plan and emotionally eating foods that are to be limited or to be avoided on MM, we get into a metabolic vicious cycle that completely sabotages our goals and may not be emotional at all, but physical.  It goes like this:  Insulin Resistance is a big factor in Metabolic Syndrome.  Insulin is the fat growth hormone which is produced by the pancreas and that allows glucose into cells where it can be utilized as fuel. Because of heredity and lifestyle, (consumption of too much carbohydrates and lack of exercise) cells can become resistant to insulin. This causes the pancreas to pump out more insulin than is normal to get glucose inside the cell. When this happens it is known as “insulin resistance” (IR) Studies have shown that people with Insulin Resistance can experience brain dysfunction due to this hormonal imbalance.  This can give a direct link to depression, anxiety and IR.  We now come around full circle as this physical issue also becomes an emotional one, again.

When we are depressed, that is, physiologically depressed, we have lower levels of serotonin.  Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that makes us feel good, calms us and gives us a sense of overall well-being.  When we lack serotonin, we have a good chance of feeling depressed.  Now, eating too many carbohydrates cause an increase in serotonin levels, so our brain sends out more messages to eat carbs (carb cravings).  Because of these carb cravings, we cave into them physiologically, eat the carbs.  Then, our body pumps out the fat growth hormone insulin and we become overweight.  This is the vicious cycle of Metabolic Syndrome.  This makes the argument to stick to plan a good plan!!  Always seek the services of a health care professional, if you have true clinical depression or anxiety.

 

Let’s say we are following MM; yet, life gets in the way and we go back to old coping mechanisms of eating to deal with our emotions.  Overeating, even neutral foods, may just be a way that using food helps distract our attention to deeper emotional issues inside.  When we eat for emotional reasons, food can help us cope, make us feel safe, comfortable and calm.  Sometimes it is people’s big form of pleasure.  I do feel this may be a temporary feeling, however.  On the flip side of the coin, emotional overeating can turn to weight gain, or not meeting expected weight-loss goals, feeling depressed, guilty, hopeless, anxious or frustrated. The good news is that there is something we can do about this.  YES!!!

 

A New Mindset

 

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

I’m a firm believer in what is known as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.   This is a type of  “talk therapy” that is based on the theory that our ways of doing things are related to the interaction of thoughts, behaviors, and emotions. In Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, the therapist and patient will work on identifying and directly changing thoughts and behaviors that may be maintaining undesirable habits.

Basically, this means that if we change our thinking about something, we can change our ways, specifically, our not so good habits.  We can change the way we fall into the emotional eating trap by changing the way we think and feel about our emotional connection to food.  We can do this on our own by looking at the varied reasons behind our emotional eating.

 

Your Motivation

What are your motivational factors?   It will help if our new mindset involves looking at our motivation to replace emotional eating with more healthy options. I do believe when we feel in control or our emotions, we can stay on plan and meet our goals.  Some motivational reasons to move away from emotional eating:

 

-Health

-weight loss

-better lab results

-higher energy

 

-More control over your emotions

-better coping skills to deal with your emotions

-increased feelings of self-esteem

-less anxiety, depression, guilt

 

 

Change is Good:  Changing your Mindset

 Have a plan in place for dealing with emotional social “triggers” that cause emotional eating.  Issues that may make you want to eat to feel better.  The may include family problems, relationship problems, issues at work, health problems, money and fiancés, and unresolved  emotional issues.

Replace eating with other activity such as exercise, meditation or prayer, doing something fun, crafts, etc

Align your thinking with the positive, what you can have or do, instead of thoughts of restriction, resistance, or lack.

Watch your associations with food by making new, healthier associations with your choices.

Have an open mind to change.

Always think in terms of self-confidence and worth as opposed to self-doubt and fears.  My great mantra is, I’m going to do this thing.  Be in this mindset all the time!!

Make it your mindset that your diet is your lifestyle and let people know this is the new you.

 

By taking an assessment of our emotions, we can recognize them and make changes to old habits and coping mechanisms regarding emotional eating.  When we get a handle on this, we really get a chance to get to know our real selves, not the person hiding behind the emotional eating.  By taking this opportunity to discover who you truly are, you are more likely to be successful, healthy, physically and emotionally, and in control.

 

 

Let’s talk about it:

 

In what ways do you deal with your feelings without food?

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