Is anxiety causing your eating problems?
Anxiety can be gripping and debilitating. It can stop us from doing the most basic of things. We can’t go out, we turn very anxious when meeting friends, anytime when faced with a situation our anxiety can take over and it can feel like a simple meeting is the worst thing in the world.
How can anxiety lead to your eating problems?
When we have underlying anxiety, it feels as if we are on edge. This nervous energy bubbling away that we just can’t keep down. It is there ready to burst and overtake us at any time.
When we snack or pick on food outside of our meals it can feel good. In that moment of eating, the taste and texture of the food gives us a high and we instantly forget about our anxiety. It is a subtle high, but enough for us to go back for more.
The feel-good feeling from eating is paired with feeling anxious and, of course, when we feel good the anxiety subsides. Over time this pairing gets so ingrained that we no longer think about what we are doing. We unconsciously reach for that chocolate or sweets and as time goes on we need more and more to help give us those good feelings.
Before we know it, we don’t know why we reach out for food and we are putting on weight and don’t like it. Not only now do we have an anxiety problem but a weight issue as well. This can be detrimental to our mental health and we are constantly fighting to feel good but, of course, what makes us feel good is the food. It is a vicious circle.
How can we stop our eating problems?
Many of us see the presenting problem, which is eating. Help me to stop eating and then I will feel better. What we are not seeing is; that it is the underlying anxiety and the battle to feel better that is causing our eating problems.
How can we understand our eating better?
Start to observe the times when we reach out for food. What are we feeling? What is going on for us at the time? By taking notes, being curious and investigative we can start to detect patterns and start to understand why we are reaching out for food. This is hard to do when we are judgemental.
2. Eat slowly and mindfully
We often eat unconsciously and rapidly. We do not know how much we have eaten and we only see it afterwards and then have mixed feelings. Generally, guilt comes up. Take deep breaths when eating the food. Focus solely on what you are eating and chew slowly. This will help you notice what the food is doing for you and how you are feeling. This should help provide you with some ahaa’s.
3. Cut back slowly
We often go into an all or nothing mode. We don’t want to eat so we try to stop eating our naughty foods altogether. It is difficult to abstain because we have not worked on the cause. Eventually, the drive for our favourite food becomes too much and we eat it again. Rather than this all or nothing, just cut back slowly. Allow yourself the food, but only three quarters for a while. Then cut back to half, then a quarter. Cutting back is manageable and it does not feel as if you are missing out.
How hypnotherapy aids your healing from eating problems and anxiety
If underlying your eating patterns is your anxiety, hypnotherapy will help heal your anxiety. It is an amazing tool that you can use in between sessions and in my experience, it really boosts the good work done during the therapy sessions. This is what I have noticed how hypnotherapy helps
- It helps you to relax the judgemental part of us and allows us to become more relaxed and accepting of ourselves.
- Suggestive hypnotherapy gives suggestions to boost our confidence and feel better about ourselves. The more we feel better about ourselves, the less likely we are to turn to food to fill that gap.
- You become more mindful and more aware of your mind-body connection. You start to notice your feelings more which helps you to manage them better. Life starts to feel lighter.
- You get mentally stronger. Feeling better and becoming more confident allows the room to have the courage to say no to foods. You no longer want it as much because you know it no longer benefits you.
- You develop better and more appropriate habits. You feel strong to let go of old unwanted habits and develop new ones. It feels good and life keeps getting better.
If you are not sure how this applies to you, you can talk to a therapist about your issues and they will be able to explain how hypnotherapy will help you specifically.