Conquer Emotional Eating to Lose Weight
By Richard Kuhns
Decades of approaching the weight problem with diets has most overeaters hypnotized into believing that they fundamentally have an eating problem. Yes, while those who are overweight definitely would agree that they have an eating problem or a food problem, the truth is that overeating is only a symptom.
Let's analyze. What do you often do when you feel frustrated? bored? happy? excited? upset? depressed? unhappy? angry? or want to reward yourself? If your answer is "eat" in response to one or more of these questions, you are an emotional eater. Yet, very few focus on emotions, most focus on the habit of eating. Eating is only a symptom of one's inability to manage certain emotions.
The truth is that overeaters use food to dilute various emotions. You're bored and there's nothing to do so you eat. You got a lot accomplished so you eat to reward yourself. You're happy being with your friends so you eat to celebrate a good time. You're angry or upset about something so you eat to sooth yourself. You are stressed and under pressure so you eat to relieve the stress and pressure.
And then there are other emotions such as confusion, depression... that food is also used to dilute those emotions and feelings. It doesn't matter whether the emotions are good or bad feelings. Yet, most of us have no idea how to take the emotions straight and leave food out of the process.
It's more important to gain a grasp on how to deal with emotions than it is to read the scale. Focusing on the scale can be very disheartening. Sometimes you might actually think that the scale is in a conspiracy against you for when you know that you've been controlling your food intake and should have lost weight, the scale actually shows a slight gain in weight.
Besides focusing on the scale doesn't empower you to be a better more enlightened person, whereas learning about how to manage and handle emotions empowers you in all aspects of your life.
Let's begin with an understanding of where emotions originate. Our ability to experience emotions come from the limbic brain which is the first part of the brain to have developed. The rational thinking reticular portion of the brain came much later as language was developed.
Generally there is a similar characteristic that is the same in all of us which determines what emotion we feel at any given time. And that is our expectations. Whether we know it or not, each of us are a walking set of expectations. As things develop during our day as we expect them to we are likely to feel happy, fulfilled, excited, joyful... and as things develop contrary to our desires we are likely to feel upset, frustrated, angry, bored, confused...
Back in the 60's with the advent of biofeedback, many studied the possibility of controlling our emotions through the use of brain wave biofeedback. It turned out to be an impractical goal and what we actually learned is that when we try to control something we are actually giving power to it over us.
Ultimately, a more realistic goal is to learn how to feel and embrace the emotion. For when we stop resisting emotion (and that's what we do when we eat) and allow ourselves to truly feel the emotion it disappears along with any needs to dilute the emotion with food. We stop eating emotional feelings.
A progressive approach to losing weight involves asking questions "What is missing here? Why are people not getting the results they are promised? It is clearly insane to keep using the same weight loss techniques when the results are so poor. It's more important to gain a grasp on conquering 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, whereas learning about how to handle emotional eating empowers you in all aspects of your life and you'll find that what you really want to eat is far more nutritious and less in quantity than ever before imagined.