I was reading an article recently (link below) talking about eating disorders and emotional eating. It covered the psychological aspect of binge eating in terms of the emotional reasons people pick up that block of chocolate and eat the whole thing.
In all the examples the type of food people were pigging out on was junk food. McDonalds, KFC, commercial chocolate, cakes, biscuits, and ice cream were some examples. Never once do you hear the story… and she was so upset she ate five bowls of salad and a whole watermelon.
I am sure that psychological issues are at play in emotional eating, but this can be caused by a lack of nutrients that the body needs to function properly. Or too many toxic elements consumed as well, which makes the body and brain malfunction.
I used to do this when I had nothing but coffee until about lunchtime. Then other times when I only ate refined sugar for a whole day and no actual nutrients to go with it. I wasn’t upset, didn’t have self esteem issues, or a bad life that needed comfort eating. None of that stuff. It was just that sugar without nutrients, starches, salted/flavoured snack foods, diet coke and way too much coffee made me out of control in terms of eating it constantly. I would have it in quantities that would never allow me to be a normal body weight and made me obsessive about eating it again and again.
The point is that I believe there are many people out there who are like I was, who haven’t heard this point of view. They are languishing in despair trying to work out what their ‘emotional issues’ are, so they can get their emotional eating under control. But often there are no emotional issues to find. They are wasting their time, in pain for no reason. Still overweight because they are barking up the wrong tree, maybe even having unnecessary therapy, and still just plain miserable about their life in general. Which is a shame because it may be all so unnecessary.
Even from the anxiety point of view, I am a firm believer that in some cases what you eat, drink and inhale may be the cause of many anxiety issues.
I was having a cup of tea with a friend and one of her cousins from interstate came to join us. She was a nice enough girl but seemed really fidgety, jumpy, spoke really fast and kept looking around all the time. So we established that she hadn’t had anything to eat that day and was ripping into a double shot latte while with us, unless she excused herself to go have a cigarette. Then another coffee and more cigarettes and my friend later told me that yes, she is a very aggressive girl that suffers from anxiety issues.
No s#%* Sherlock, I would suffer from anxiety too if I was jangling my nervous system with no useful fuel, vitamins or minerals that your body craves and needs to actually function properly. Her body is just full of toxins to navigate. I’m sure late nights out drinking alcohol factored in there too somewhere. I guess some people just don’t understand how the body works.
I remember one day in my 20s I was having fun surfing in Anglesea in Victoria on a Malibu board. It was awesome to be out there! Anyway, after one brilliant day instead of feeling exhilarated like I normally do, I sat there feeling really morose and forlorn. Thoughts entered my head like, “what’s the point of it all anyway, and if I died tomorrow I really wouldn’t care.”
The whole episode shocked me a little. I was normally a happy jolly person and never had thoughts like this before. Then I considered what else I had done that day. I realised that all I had eaten was processed junk foods – lollies, soda, cakes, ice cream and no real food. It totally spun me out that this stuff could cause such a head switch in a usually happy person. I ate some normal food – protein/salad/veges and all of the mind rubbish went away. Simple as that.
So what happens when a person continues to eat this junky stuff, not realising that this is the cause? Or maybe not wanting to believe it? My belief is that they suffer needlessly. They may go into therapy. May be encouraged by some doctor to go on pills which makes it worse. Or just battle along themselves living a miserable life. It’s such a shame when the answer may be so simple.
In the article too it mentioned something about eating raw cacao and gluten free would not make a difference. I agree about the gluten free part as the gluten free food still may be junk. But in relation to raw cacao I believe this statement is just plain wrong. When you are feeling upset and this is the reason you eat, but you then eat the most amazing food full of nutrients this is exactly what your body/nervous system needs. It would go a long way to making you feel better.
Also real food has an ‘off switch’ which signals you to stop eating. Where as junk food doesn’t have it for some people. It makes you more likely to eat way more than normal. Real food would nourish your cells and nervous system as well as keep your body to a reasonable weight. It would calm your nervous system eliminating more reasons to feel bad.
So if you recognise this behaviour, I urge you to just pay attention to what you eat. It could make a whole world of difference.
Peace, calm and serenity.
Article referred to:
Note: To learn how to eat for a fast metabolism and optimal nutrition, grab a copy of my book the Zen Beach Diet.
Love your blog on emotional eating Kristy and one that I can relate to and again makes me want to stop and think before I grab for that quick fix of carbs.
Hey Pam. Thanks for your thoughts.