Emotional eating and food addiction are very real problems… While emotional eating is a universal phenomenon and won’t do any significant harm in the short term, if you find yourself reaching for comfort foods on a regular basis, it can lead to significant problems, both physical and psychological.
Physically, emotional eating can lead to obesity and related health problems, and psychologically, it may delay or prevent you from addressing your true emotions and sources of stress. Eating to avoid facing feelings is like putting a ‘Band-Aid on a broken arm.
The Chemicals Involved in Emotional Eating
Your emotions and food intake both result in a cascade of biochemical reactions, and these chemicals can have a potent effect. As explained in Dr. Pamela Peeke’s book, “The Hunger Fix: The Three-Stage Detox and Recovery Plan for Overeating and Food Addiction,” the neurotransmitter dopamine is a critical player in all forms of addiction, including food addiction.
The stress hormone cortisol and the neurotransmitter serotonin also play important roles. As reported by the Huffington Post.
“Cortisol is our main stress hormone, triggering our fight-or-flight instinct. It also regulates how our bodies use carbohydrates, fats and proteins. So if we’re stressed or anxious and cortisol kicks in, that can make us want to carbo-load.
‘When we’re stressed, our bodies are flooded in cortisol,’ said … Albers. ‘That makes us crave sugary, fatty, salty foods.’ Then there’s dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with learning about rewards. It kicks into gear at the promise that something positive is about to happen, like eating a food you love.
The comfort foods we turn to because they taste so good give us a surge of dopamine, Albers said, and we look for that high again and again … And let’s not forget serotonin, aka “the happy chemical” … serotonin itself isn’t in food — but tryptophan, an amino acid necessary to produce serotonin, is.
Famously associated with turkey, tryptophan is also found in cheese … Carbs can also boost serotonin levels, which can improve your mood, and chocolate, too, is linked to a serotonin spike.”
Comfort Foods Lower Cortisol Levels in Highly Stressed Individuals
According to the experts on eating disorders interviewed by Huffington Post, emotional eating is primarily triggered by stress and boredom. Essentially, the act of eating “gives us something to do. It fills our time, gives us a way to procrastinate,” Albers says.
Food Versus Feelings
Over time, eating becomes associated with emotional relief; it’s a way to temporarily distance yourself from emotional discomfort and dampen your experience of stress. We can also have trapped emotions vibrating inside the body which leads to food addictions, sugar addictions and much more. The emotion code energy healing technique can release those trapped emotions that are causing and contributing to this! Hypnosis is another modality that can help you to get rid of old negative habits and to create new ones’ using the unconscious mind, where all is stored.
Comfort Foods Are Associated With Positive Memories
An interesting study published in 2015 found that people reach for comfort foods when they feel isolated in some way, because the food in question reminds them of a strong emotional relationship they once had. Highlights from this study include the findings that:
- Comfort food is associated with relationships (it has “social utility”)
- Feeling isolated predicted how much people enjoy comfort food
- Threatened belonging led those with secure attachment to enjoy comfort food more
Here, a group of undergraduate students at the State University of New York at Buffalo were asked to recall a time when a close relationship was under threat, or a moment when they felt alienated and alone. Another group was not given this instruction.
Afterward, the group that was instructed to think back on an emotionally stressful time were found to be more likely to eat comfort foods, and they rated the tastiness of those foods higher than the group that were not eating to dampen their emotions. Huffington Post notes:
“Think about all the happy and comforting memories you have involving food. Maybe your family used to celebrate occasions with a trip to the ice cream shop, or maybe your mom or dad used to soften the blow of a bad day with macaroni and cheese. When you’re feeling rejected or anxious today, eating one of those foods is an instant connection to that soothing time.”
How to Separate Your Emotions From Your Eating
If emotional eating strikes now and then, it probably will not cause you any harm. The real danger lies in chronic emotional eating, which can undermine your health and emotional well-being. So, what can you do?
To start with, we have to remember food’s true purpose — to nourish us. Ask yourself, Am I truly physically hungry? IF not, what am i hungry for? Love, attention, compassion, connection, ….Eat slowly and mindfully without the TV or computer. Stop eating when you feel satisfied but not full! I also get clients to ask themselves… “Is this food bringing me towards or away from my goals?”
Lynn combines Emotion Code Energy Healing to release any trapped emotions causing emotional eating, sugar addiction, junk food cravings and more… along with hypnosis for weight loss, optimal health, motivation to exercise etc…. Combining these 2 modalities can yield excellent results, for the long term as our emotions are stored in the unconscious mind.
Contact Lynn to Schedule your Free 20 min consultation today!
To Your Health, Results and Success!