Gia Marson, Ed.D.
Food is central to life and an important aspect of every society. Not only is it an important source of nourishment, it is also a way of relating and connecting with others, a way of celebrating, comforting, mourning, bonding and socializing.
Because our eating habits are woven into the fabric of our daily lives and traditions, eating disorders such as binge eating and emotional eating are influenced by a combination of strong emotions, environment, and relationships with others. There is a possibility. cause. New research supports this theory.
Emotions, eating, and coping are connected.
A recent study of over 300 women found:
- Negative emotions such as guilt and sadness can increase the risk of eating disorders such as binge eating.
- The way a person responds to their emotions can influence the occurrence of binge eating and emotional eating.
- Behavioral responses depend on the individual’s ability to regulate their emotions.
- Increasing social support and reducing environmental stress may decrease the negative emotional impact of binge eating and emotional eating.
In other words, these findings indicate that what are traditionally thought of as emotion regulation strategies, such as identifying and reconfiguring cognitive distortions, do not fully solve the food problem.
Researchers suggest that coping strategies that affect different areas of life may help treat and prevent binge eating and emotional eating.
Are you vulnerable to binge eating and emotional eating?
Most people use food as a way to regulate their emotions. People around the world rely on food as a way to soothe themselves, deal with sadness, stress, anxiety, or other unpleasant emotions. Usually not a problem.
But when people have no other way to deal with their emotions than food, emotional eating or binge eating can be a problem. If you are not using the more effective strategies of , you may run the risk of losing control of your diet.
Insight is necessary, but practice makes a lasting change.
Information alone cannot change behavior. This is a common mistake people make, even well-intentioned professionals. Assumptions are: Giving people the right information changes their attitudes and changes their behavior. I call this the “Information and Behavior Fallacy”… To design successful habits and change behaviors, you need to do three things. Stop judging yourself. Take your desire and break it down into small actions. Accept mistakes as discoveries and use them to move forward.
–BJ Fogg Small habits: small changes that change everything
Learning and practicing more effective coping skills until automated is one great way to make yourself less susceptible to emotional eating and binge eating. Therefore, by combining the psychology of eating with habit formation, we may be able to change our relationship with food for the better.
Apply new coping skills to combat binge eating and emotional eating.
Below are some methods that have proven effective for regulating the kinds of distressing emotions that can lead to problematic eating behaviors. Practice these skills once or twice Note that this does not mean that eating disorders will decrease. Rather, it is meant to be practiced in small steps every day until it becomes a reliable habit.
Internal Coping: Strengthening Emotional Regulation
- use acceptance techniquesTransform your dining experience by embracing your body’s messages, preferences, diversity and satisfaction. Start a habit of noticing when you are hungry and when you are full. Stop judging food and appetite as good or bad. Slowly observe how each food looks, smells, tastes and feels in your body.
- Raise awareness. eMovement happens all the time because human experience is an emotional one. Start a habit of labeling your emotions once a day to create greater emotional awareness. There are no good or bad feelings, even if there are more unpleasant ones. Observe when emotion precedes the urge to eat, even without hunger.
- Recognizing Negative Emotions Without Impulsively ReactingEmotions like guilt and sadness are part of our inner landscape and pushing them aside often leads to disconnection and overwhelm. Make a habit of ensuring Pause before reaching for food to deal with. Instead, think of things that support you in the moment, like texting a friend, going for a walk, or listening to music.
- Let go of emotional guilt. Guilt is meant to signal you when your actions are preventing you from living in line with your values. It invalidates your truth and is unfair to you. When guilt appears, get into the habit of labeling it. Stop judging yourself for having negative emotions. Trust that if you allow the emotions to come up, they will naturally soften and recede over time.
External coping: reducing the effects of environmental stress trigger
- Describe your optimal relationship with food. Visualizing how you want to be around food is a good starting point to head in that direction. Identifies which environment triggers are modifiable and which are not. Practice taking small steps towards positive change.
- Increases cortisol levels and reduces the physical stress response that can increase appetiteFrom sleep deprivation to financial worries, modern lifestyles have many stressors. Make an inventory of your stressors and write down what you can do to reduce them. If the stressor is variable, begin new behavioral habits that reduce the presence of the stressor in your environment. If that doesn’t change, practice reacting differently, in a way that supports self-compassion and your well-being.
Relational Coping: Increased Social Support
- View setbacks as learning opportunities. AhGrowth and change come through imperfect processes, so mistakes become a natural part of learning and development. Let’s begin the exercise of reconstructing our view of mistakes. Let go of the idea that mistakes are caused by lack of willpower or that it’s something to be ashamed of. By sharing your failed experiences with others, you can remind them that making mistakes is normal and normal.
- Stay or connect. Talking about your challenges and mistakes with others has been proven to reduce isolation, self-criticism, emotional eating, and binge eating. start or deepen the
- Find a professional who can help. Therapists can promote emotional well-being through skills that improve awareness, acceptance, and coping. A nutritionist can provide information and practices for a healthy gut-brain connection and a more finely tuned interoceptive perception. can be arranged.
Habits are powerful but delicate. They may appear outside of our consciousness or they may be deliberately designed. They often arise without our permission, but can be reshaped by tinkering with parts. They shape our lives more than we realize.
– Charles Duhigg The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business
If you’re ready to change your relationship with food, start today. Create a vision of your optimal relationship with food and break it down into a series of small actionable steps. One small action at a time can help you develop a more harmonious relationship with food.
To find a therapist near you, visit the Psychology Today Therapy Directory.