Official recognition Emotional eating IS behind our Obesity Epidemic
Yes! Finally the word is getting out there! .As I drove to the beach for my morning walk today, the ABC news came on, and there it was in the mainstream news, recognition and acknowledgement of the fact that Emotional Eating IS the main driver behind our current Obesity epidemic. There are now calls to take a Mental Health approach in conjunction if not ahead of the other health initiatives currently in place. It's about time! (I'll post a link to the associated ABC article at the bottom of this blog).
If staying fit and slim and healthy were as simple as Calories in vs. Calories out none of us would be overweight. The fact is that our modern society has swept us up into a frenetic pace of living where we are distracted and manipulated by marketing seducing all of our senses; we're less connected with our fellow man (loss of meaningful connection is a major driver of addiction) and we've become out of touch with all of our natural emotions and instincts to the point that we automatically respond with an often unhealthy coping behaviour when we sense a shift in our emotional state. Sometimes that uneasy feeling may be as benign as boredom but we've become so hyper vigilant that mild or even a positive shift in our emotions will trigger our alarm system and our coping mechanism will be put in motion. We try to avoid our all of our emotions and one of the easiest ways of doing this is to engage and distract all of our senses with the process of eating. This is the coping mechanism of choice for 90% of overweight women and 86% of overweight men. Sometimes a traumatic event will be responsible for initiating the behaviour, but often its an accumulation of stress combined with an erosion of healthier coping skills.
There's a biological component
Stress and Depression are two of the main drivers that set this process in motion. When we are stressed our depressed we know that certain hormones are released which drive you to want high fat and high sugar foods.
So what can you do?
So how to stop this? Mindfulness is an incredibly effective strategy. Mindfulness (with regular practice) enables us to re-learn the skill of pausing, noticing our emotional shifts at the subtle early stage, and teaching us to sit with our emotions without being engulfed by them. Mindfulness teaches us to swim strongly through our emotional waters, and provides a stabilising life line when the waters are turbulent. Mindfulness if practiced consistently teaches us to reorient into the present and to be more present in the present as it where, it helps us avoid those mindless moments where we find ourselves looking at an empty biscuit packet thinking OMG did I just eat those? We can learn to eat and drink more mindfully and make it a fuller more satisfying experience, by increasing our awareness we do feel more satisfied with less. If for example the next time you are about to eat, take a mouthful of food and really look at it, look at the colour, smell the aroma and really consider it, then slowly put the food in your mouth and hold it there, notice the flavours, all the elements and notes, notice the texture, notice the temperature, hold it there without chewing for a moment longer, where in your mouth are you picking up the flavours? then chew slowly and notice how long it takes to chew the food properly. You find after a couple of mouthfuls in this way that you are satisfied sooner, the experience has met all of your senses and been fuller. If you try to make time every hour to breath mindfully for just 60 seconds, just noticing your breath, the temperature of the air, the movement of your shoulders as you breath, the expansion of the lungs, you'll find that after just a minute you feel calmer and more centred. By incorporating these practices into daily life, stress levels will gradually go down. This practice can be expanded to help ride out emotions.
If the coping mechanism of eating is deeply embedded Clinical Hypnotherapy provides the tools required for you to change your behaviour and notice positive results in much less time than can be achieved with mindfulness alone. Clinical Hypnotherapy enables you to learn new skills, shed counter-productive and harmful beliefs as well as gaining resolution over unresolved emotions that are hindering your progress towards achieving your goal of a healthier lifestyle. Clinical Hypnotherapy is suitable if you've been finding it difficult to start a Mindful practice because your Stress level or Depression are not allowing you to focus and relax for long enough to begin to feel the benefits. A good therapist will teach you the skills that enable you to navigate through your emotions, without feeling overwhelmed. A therapist that has also trained in NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) can utilise these techniques to enable you to become unstuck from unhelpful behaviours and the patterns of stress and depression.
* If you'd like help in losing weight I'm very happy to discuss further with you. I'm an accredited Clinical Hypnotherapist, Professional Counsellor and NLP Practitioner and I'm also a Certified Practitioner of the Sheila Granger Virtual Gastric Band Program, go to this link for further information on this highly successful weight loss program. I've helped many people overcome this issue and live the lifestyle they want and deserve without feeling deprived or that they are in a daily struggle against themselves. I use Clinical Hypnotherapy to take the struggle out of weight loss and get people back in alignment with their true values and their aspirations. It's not a crash diet, it's about being satisfied with smaller healthier meals and gradually losing weight in a healthy sustainable way, by removing urge to use food as an emotional crutch and teaching people to stand firm on their own feet. One of my recent Virtual Gastric Band clients said this
"I feel more comfortable in my own skin than I ever remember, I forget why I ever thought I needed to eat so much, it just doesn't occur to me to eat mindlessly any more"
You can call me now on 0435 923 817 or use the contact form either at this link or at the page above.
As promised here's the link to the ABC Article it's a very interesting read!
* Results may vary
Georgina Mitchell was born in Ireland, moving to Australia in 1989. Georgina spent many years working in senior management in the Corporate world, before leaving to pursue her passion to become a Therapist.
Melbourne Hypnotherapy Blog
Please note as with all therapies, Results for Therapies delivered by Hypfocus may vary from person to person