Weight-loss and emotional eating

Overeating and feelings of guilt

Many of us have problems with our weight from time to time, and very few of us have not been a diet at some point in our lives. This often varies from a desire to lose weight for a specific event such a wedding, vacation, for health reasons to a simple desire to conform to the social perceptions of how our bodies should look.

Then there are people who always seem to be on a diet, having a constant battle with food. Amongst them are those who seem to have an uncontrollable appetite for food, finding themselves binge eating or eating unhealthy calorie-ridden foods to excess. These individuals are often left with feeling of guilt and loathing afterwards, and this is often accompanied by feelings of stress, anxiety and depression.

Binge eating and satiety

Many people who are prone to this kind of eating will often say that the urge to eat comes on suddenly, without warning and not in response to any hunger pangs. They also report a desire to source out foods which they believe provide comfort and make them feel good whilst consuming them. Some foods are often found to be more comforting than others, and are often obtained and eaten in vast amounts even when there is no apparent hunger.

In many instances a lot of planning goes into these binge eating sessions, with people looking forward to eating their favourite foods, snacks and delicacies and setting aside a specific time of the day for consumption, often in private. Unfortunately the stark realisation for most individuals is that although an emotional need is being momentarily satisfied, the body does not physically require these foods which are often low on nutritional value and high in calories. This realisation can instil a feeling of low self worth in many people as they are well aware of the damage they are doing to themselves through food, and the powerful hold it has over them.

The emotional response

People experiencing these feelings can be diagnosed with what is called an emotional eating disorder – an increase in food intake in response to negative emotions. These negative emotions are often related to hurtful remarks made by others in the past and can be triggered by difficult or stressful situations which some people may try to alleviate with food. Any attempt to lose weight may therefore always be doomed to failure due to messages deeply embedded in the subconscious mind. To compound this, those with eating disorders often set themselves weight loss goals, but if these objectives are not reached they paradoxically turn to food for comfort.

Hypnotherapy and eating disorders

Someone who has been diagnosed with emotional eating disorder cannot simply be given suggestions under hypnosis to “go on a diet” or eat less. Despite all of their good intentions, the compulsion to overeat and “ditch the diet” is often deeply entrenched in the mind.

Those who are dealing with the effects of any eating disorder have to be assessed to establish which underlying issues, if any, are causing them to overeat. Again, these could be anxiety syndrome, chronic stress, low self-esteem or a range of issues from a person’s past.

Hypnosis can give people who suffer from emotional eating disorders the tools and techniques to cope with the thoughts and habits which make them overeat. After each session, these coping mechanisms can become easier for them to use and develop. As confidence and self-esteem levels increase, negative emotions can be effectively dealt with and eating problems can be resolved.

The emotional eater then develops a sense of awareness and is able to dissociate emotional hunger from physical hunger and the healing process can begin.

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Written by Marie Ferguson Dip HYP BA(Hons) MHS Gastric Band Practitioner & Nutritionist

Marie has 20 years experience in industry and corporate environments, acknowledges the problems facing people in their personal and professional lives, and helps to resolve these issues. As a fully qualified hypnotherapist and counsellor she is also the founder of the CogniSENSE hypnosis method for weight loss, smoking and addictive behaviour.… Read more

Written by Marie Ferguson Dip HYP BA(Hons) MHS Gastric Band Practitioner & Nutritionist

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