Emotional Eating--The Stress of Emotions

Dr. Purushothaman
January 13, 2014


Emotional eating has been identified as the single largest reason people gain weight back after they lost it and it's a well known fact that 95% of all those who lose weight gain it all back.
Everyday I read articles or books featuring a means of overcoming emotional eating. At first I was excited about what new tips I'd learn and was quickly disappointed.
To to Amazon.com and you'll find the three top books about emotional eating:
Shrink Yourself (Break free of emotional eating) by Roger Gould MD, Taming of the Chew by Denise Lamothe, Phy.D, H.H.D., and Breaking Free from Emotional Eating by Geneen Roth.
Can you believe that none of these books has even one chapter or portion of a chapter on how to deal with emotions themselves? Nothing about the cause of emotions? There is nothing about how to embrace them or experience them or the importance of experiencing emotions.
Just go to Google and set up alerts for emotional eating and you'll get article everyday re emotional eating. Unfortunately it's all old recycled advice from the fad diet era.
None of the books or articles recognize that emotional eaters don't eat because of particular emotions, but because of the stress the emotions place upon the over eater.
Yes, emotions are themselves stressful and the old stress management advice, i.e. take deep breadths, practice yoga, meditation, go for a walk, count to ten, and so on just are not effective for 95% of over eaters. It may be good advice but for the most part impractical. The reality is that none of this has anything to do with dealing with the stress of emotions.
For instance, do you like to feel malaise? bored? frustrated? confused? uncertain? anger? upset? down?
How about excitement? joy? happiness?
Most people say "NO" to the first group of emotions and call them negative and they say "YES" to the second group of emotions and call them positive.
But do you know what you've just done?
You've just voted. You determined that there are some emotions you dislike and some that you like.
The reality is that emotions are different energy levels and it's our beliefs about them that make them bad or good. Yes it's what we believe about them that makes them stressful.
It is this stress that contributes to our over eating and makes us emotional eaters.
Can you think of how happiness can be stressful? How about a belief such as, "How can you be happy when there are so many people with much less?"
Because of beliefs of this nature--and there are many others--that keep us from truly experiencing happiness and thus the emotion is diluted with food.
A progressive approach to losing weight involves asking questions "What is missing here? Why are people not getting the results from the books and experts they consult? It is clearly insane to keep using the same techniques when the results are so poor. It's more important to learn to feel emotions and gain a grasp on breaking free from emotional eating than it is to read the scale. Besides focusing on the scale doesn't empower you to be a better more enlightened person. If you're a homemaker, you'll be a better homemaker--a manager, a better manager. Stopping emotional over eating empowers you in all aspects of your life and is how you really lose weight or make weight loss easy.

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