Eating to ease the inner storm
There are so many ‘rules’ about food. Count your calories, exercise more. Cut down on carbs, cut out processed food. Ensure you eat breakfast. Eat five a day. Whenever you turn on the TV or open a magazine there are tips for the perfect body in super quick time or dire warnings about obesity and the consequences for you, the NHS and society in general.
The challenge for those wanting to lose weight or change their shape is that it’s all about restraint and, in some cases, deprivation; depriving yourself of sweet, fatty or calorific food and training yourself to eat more healthily. The reasons that so many people have a difficult relationship with food are numerous but often include low self-esteem and poor coping strategies for stress or emotional upset. Eating for reasons other than hunger is common in our society and, whilst it is frequently related to anger, sadness or distress, people will often eat out of boredom too.
How people ‘deal’ with the consequences of ‘non-hungry’ eating is often as ineffective a strategy as self-soothing with food. Impatience to address the weight gain often leads to an unrealistic diet or exercise plan which may be difficult to maintain. A person is likely to feel good about themselves when they are adhering to the plan and to berate themselves when they lapse. By attaching our emotional well-being and self-worth to our ability to remain ‘strong’ or ‘good’ with our food or lifestyle choices leaves us vulnerable self-esteem wise.
Far better for your emotional and physical health is to eat only when hungry and to stop eating when satisfied. This sounds very easy, and it is if you are not using food to alter your mood. For those who ‘comfort eat’, the answer is never a diet. The anger that you’re stuffing down with a kebab or the loneliness that you’re trying to fill with a cake will never be addressed through food, drink or any other self-medicating strategy.
Eating to ease the inner storm is often learned in childhood, either by observing a parent who has a troubled relationship with food or having been given ‘treats’ as a distraction or comfort from emotional or physical pain. In order to develop a better relationship with food, a better relationship with yourself needs to be achieved. Hypnotherapy is a pleasant and effective way to address emotional eating and self-esteem issues and to break old habits and strategies that haven’t served you well.
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About Lorraine Mcreight
Lorraine McReight is an award-winning hypnotherapist with a therapy centre in Wimbledon. She is principal of London Hypnotherapy Academy & editor of the professional journal, Hypnoversity. She's also development director of the NCH (National Council for Hypnotherapy) & is a fellow of the APHP (Association for Professional Hypnosis & Psychotherapy).