If you are struggling to control your eating, here are four reasons why emotional eating might be preventing weight loss. Read on to find out the best solutions. I provide hypnosis for emotional eating in London. Click here for more details.
Four ways on how emotional eating prevents weight loss
Many people who wish to lose weight have a frustrating daily battle with food. At least, that’s what if feels like. However, the battle truly is not so much with food but with their emotions. It feels as though you cannot resist the food, and label it as ‘bad’ food or ‘too much food’ and in so doing making food the problem.
When you can move your outlook from food being the issue and instead address the feelings that arise, then you’ll soon discover that food itself is no longer seen as ‘the enemy’. To end this struggle with food, it is important to address what lies behind food cravings. This could be to do with nutritional imbalance but also stress, anxiety and conscious and unconscious beliefs.
By nutritional imbalance, we mean the consequences of eating too much sugar or carbohydrates. This is especially when eaten regularly, and it then can have negative implications for our health. Apart from weight gain, too much sugar can affect our mood which in turn causes us to reach for more sugar rich high carbs food to ‘self medicate’ our mood.
What are unconscious beliefs? Well, we all have unconscious beliefs that affect us emotionally and then as a consequence may drive our behaviour and eating patterns. We form our unconscious beliefs from our life experiences, especially during childhood. These can be positive as well as negative experiences. For instance, a parent who shows love by over feeding can set up an unconscious programme for eating food for the child in later life. When food as a child is associated with love, reward, in later life we can then look to food when feeling down, sad or bored and in need of some love or a hug. On the other hand, excessive criticism can create issues of low self-esteem, which we might then attempt to soothe by overeating.
Emotions and how to stop emotional eating
An effective way of dealing with any unconscious ‘programming’ as it were, is by tapping into the power of the unconscious mind. My hypnosis weight loss sessions in London have been helping people stop emotional eating naturally for several years now. Very often we look at the unconscious mind to positively change unconscious beliefs and therefore emotional eating.
How to stop emotional eating today
Stress and decisions around food
Everyday anxiety, stress or worries can lead to weight gain. Stress affects us emotionally with many different feelings including fear, anxiety, anger, frustration, sadness and so on. This surge in emotions feels extremely unpleasant, something we don’t want to experience. So, emotional eating comes along as a way to ease, stop and resist them. Food is just one way we attempt to do this, other people might use drugs, alcohol, excessive exercise or smoking.
When stressed we tend to reach for those comfort foods that contain high fat or sugar, as these are the kinds of foods that trigger the ‘feel good’ hormones. The stress hormone cortisol increases when we feel stressed. This in turn raises insulin levels causing blood sugar to drop, hence we can get a craving for those sugar rich and fatty foods.
The initial feel good comfort that we may get from eating high sugar foods is of course short-lived. Yet the ensuing fallout makes us want to reach for even more high calorie foods. It turns into a cycle and so you can see how stress influences our food choices and eating behaviour.
Because the drive for emotional eating is so strong, any initial resolve we might have can easily be overridden. The short-term gain of comfort is more powerful than the long-term gain to be slim. We are strongly motivated to numb with the present emotion we are feeling, overlooking that it will be putting extra weight on the body.
As you can see stress and emotions are interlinked. By addressing stress and emotional eating, the knock-on benefit is going to be a more effective way to achieve your desired weight loss goal.
Fad Diets Simply Don’t Work.
Fad diets often become the go to method for rapid weight loss when emotional eating gets the better of our weight loss goal. But fad dieting especially when it’s repeated over and over again causes the body to store more fat. Which means that when calorie intake is suddenly and severely reduced, the body and brain thinks it’s being ‘starved’ of food and calories. It then hangs on to the fat and loses muscle mass first.
A cycle begins and as hunger and a sense of deprivation sets in, even the strongest willed among us will cave in eventually. As the body is relieved to receive those extra calories, it craves more high fat and sugary foods and stores the fat more effectively, just in case another famine comes along. The emotional eating roller coaster of starving the body then bingeing explains why fad diets cause emotional eating and in turn prevents weight loss.
Counting calories doesn’t address emotional eating
So, what about those diets that give you a ‘plan’ including controlling portion sizes by calorie counting? You know which I mean, Slimming world, weight watchers etc.
Counting calories and constantly watching what you eat simply keeps you focused upon food as the problem, when actually its emotional eating and how you deal with feelings that is the real challenge. more of the time. For many, counting calories and getting obsessive about what you eat becomes stress inducing and keeping this up forever is no way to live. You also can feel restricted and feeling restricted is a great way to end up binging.
Since counting calories doesn’t address the underlying urges you get of wanting to eat when stress and life challenges come along, it doesn’t work long terms. So, although having a good knowledge of food values is essential in maintaining a healthy weight, when you eat for emotional reasons, there’s a fundamental missing part that has nothing to do with counting calories.
What about enjoying food?
Forgotten in all of this is that eating and food is one of life’s enjoyments. When you count calories and obsess about what you eat , you suck all the enjoyment out of eating. I want you to enjoy your food. When you emotionally eat, you think you are eating for pleasure, but in truth, you aren’t. Rather you are eating to avoid feelings. I teach people during my hypnosis for emotional eating sessions to get back to loving food and just enjoying it. That’s eating not to avoid sadness, boredom or whatever else you do t want to feel.
What are the best solutions for emotional eating?
Think of your emotions like sign posts. They are pointing you towards something, possibly something that is missing in your life or some emotions you want to avoid.
When you address this missing emotional part, you automatically feel uplifted. When your mood changes and you feel better, you no longer seek the comfort that emotional eating and overeating was trying to fulfil.
So you might ask, “What could I be missing?”
It could be that you need to take time for yourself more, or that you could do with some extra help or support at work or at home. Maybe there’s a level of dissatisfaction in your life that you haven’t fully recognised yet and are emotionally eating to avoid that.
Perhaps you’re not getting sufficient emotional or physical attention in your everyday life. Or maybe you lack a sense of achievement, with work or a relationship. It could be as simple as getting more sleep and improving sleep habits. Take a look at what is driving your eating.
Sometimes, past experiences that haven’t been resolved can affect mood and behaviour, sometimes without any conscious awareness of its underlying affect upon you. For instance, someone that was told growing up that they would never amount to much, they can suffer with anxiety or depression. Resolving this will assist in healing the emotional hole it left behind.
Emotions are powerful and affect our behaviour in so many ways. When you have an understanding of your emotions, this insight allows you to read those ‘sign posts’ better when they flag up.
Get support for emotional eating and to fast track your weight loss goals
Many people struggle to lose weight on their own and this is where getting help from a medical professional, a nutritionist, therapist or weight loss coach will support you in achieving your weight loss goal. This is where hypnosis sessions with me, could be something to consider.
Before committing to engaging private help, make sure to find out if the person you choose to work with is a good fit for you and to ask any questions you may have. Don’t be afraid to ask ‘difficult’ questions. You are investing in yourself so this is an important step. People often ask me a bunch of questions before coming to hypnosis for emotional eating sessions in London.
Hypnotherapy for emotional eating in London
As a hypnotherapist, I will help you train your mind and eating habits. We look at what is truly going on and so keep you aligned with your goal. Hypnosis works with the part of your mind where deep learning and new patterns of behaviour can be established to help support you in achieving your desired weight. I enjoy helping people lose weight or kick emotional eating using hypnosis.