Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Confusion About Emotional Eating

Emotional Eating is a very misunderstood term and everyone and absolutely everyone is jumping on the band wagon. I wouldn't be surprised to see Dr. Phil jumping on too. And absolutely no one understands it. Yet, everyone has advice which is recycled fad diet era advice.

This is what I mean. Emotion is a result of how a particular stressor is perceived. This being said, all programs add 2 + 2 and think the answer is 5. Because the emotional eater eats when an emotion is present, they focus you back on to dealing with the stressor. Obvious right? Way wrong.

The stressor isn't the real stressor--it's the emotion resultant from the stress that is the stressor.

Everyday I read post and article after article and post and they all have the same lame advice--exercise more, call a friend, meditate, eat cabbage instead of chocolate (made that one up) but you get the idea.

Finally I read an article that makes sense and it's backed by research. In the study they worked with individuals suffering from amnesia. The invoked a stressor that elicited an emotional response. Guess what the amnesia sufferers remembered?

They totally forgot what the stressor was but remembered the feeling of the emotion.

Let me repeat, they remembered the emotion but forgot what the stress was. To read about the study, click here.

Now this only becomes more pronounced for someone with normal memory. They not only remember the emotion, but also the injustice or aggravation that lead up to the emotion which becomes a vicious circle of creating more and more of the same emotion which they have no idea as to how to handle. But no problem. They are so caught up in the injustice or event that they never focus on the emotion and just eat and eat to dilute it.

Of course this is also true for situations and events leading to happiness as the primary emotion.

Sure the stress always passes and is forgotten but until the individual becomes "flat" with the emotion it lingers and lingers and is generalized to other events leading to more and more binging and emotional eating.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for your thoughts and the insight ;-)

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