Several of our Therapists that are seeing clients in person have now been vaccinated. In addition to offering in person appointments we are also seeing clients for online sessions via video call.
Thursday, 29 Mar 2018

What is Emotional Eating, and What Can we Do About it?

By Private Therapy Clinic

Emotional eatingAt a time when it seems that every week brings a new spate of media coverage about the obesity epidemic, it’s more important than ever to understand the role of emotional eating.

So, what is emotional eating? What does the term mean? Where does it come from?

Many of us turn to food when we are feeling down—and also when we are feeling good. Why?

There are several reasons. First of all, to some extent this is learned behaviour. From childhood, we’ve seen how special occasions are celebrated with treats like ice-cream and cake, and also how a bumped knee or a disappointment can be “made all better” by the judicious gifting of lollipops. As we grow up, we come to associate food with both our sad and our happy moments.

Moreover, because of our evolutionary past, we are programmed to crave high-sugar, high-fat food types. For most of our existence as a species that made sense, because we were restricted to eating what was available in our natural environment. The sugars we consumed came from fruits, and the fat from vegetable and meat sources. Consequently, we ate them only along with the fibres and other nutrients available in the food. With time, we became able to refine foods and extract the sugars and fats we love, giving rise to the availability of food items with much higher rates of sugar and fat than ever occur naturally. While eating large amounts of this sort of food is very bad for us, in the short term it makes us feel good.

Eating as a coping mechanism

Emotional eating as a response to stress becomes a problem when we routinely comfort ourselves during stressful times with high-calorie treats. If we become seriously overweight, our declining health and self-image may well also contribute to further low feelings, leading to a vicious circle. At the same time, emotional eating can become addictive. We experience a “rush” of serotonin as we consume the food we crave, and that natural high becomes something we long to experience again and again.

Once a problem with emotional eating develops, it can seem very hard to find a way out. However, with patience and understanding, we can train our minds to see food differently. Rather than trying to “go cold turkey” and stop doing anything to comfort ourselves during bad times, or celebrate during good, we need to work at decoupling our emotions from the food we eat. For example, we can start this process by devising another “comfort” or “reward”. A long, hot bath with a good magazine to read would be a healthier way to give ourselves a little treat in the context of our daily lives without adding to our calorie load, while the tasty treats we love could be restricted to one day a week, as we focus on establishing a healthier diet the rest of the time.

Who can I speak to about emotional eating?

For help with the issues discussed in this article speak to one of our therapists here at Private Therapy Clinic for a free initial chat or to make an appointment.

  • Eating Disorders
  • General
  • Stress
27 Mar 2018

What Everyone Needs to Know about Neurotransmitters!

Neurotransmitters are responsible for a chemical in our brain implicated in feeling good, because our bodies secrete it when they have an experience that we interpret as pleasant. Neurotransmitters can have a very profound effect on how we live. When we give ourselves a “little treat” or see a friend, or even have a nice cup of tea after a busy day at work, neurotransmitters makes us feel that much better about our life and leaves us wanting more.....

24 Mar 2018

Why Do We Enjoy Violence?

Back in the days of Freud, psychologists and psychotherapists tried to rationalise the human drive to see or experience violence and death, and the fact that those who have suffered trauma tended to return to it again and again in terms of natural instinct. They failed, however, to reach consensus about our attraction to death.....

23 Mar 2018

Can Stress Make Me Sick?

Stress is a normal function and, at times, stress can be very useful. For example, when we are facing an imminent threat (for instance, if we are crossing the road and there’s a car barrelling towards us, or if someone is trying to attack us) we go into fight-or-flight mode. Our body secretes an extra burst of adrenaline, and we are better able to remove ourselves from danger. In emergency situations, stress can help us to stay safe.....

19 Mar 2018

Establishing Boundaries With Borderline Personality Disorder

It can be very difficult to be in a romantic relationship with someone with a borderline personality disorder. For anyone with this condition, it can be hard to understand how others experience their often erratic and risky behaviour, and they can lash out when anyone tries to rein them in, not realising on any level how much they are hurting the people they care about most. However, there are many coping mechanisms that can make life with someone with borderline personality disorder a lot easie....

16 Mar 2018

Could Anxious Attachment be Causing Your Relationship Problems?

We use the term “attachment” to describe the warm feelings that one person develops for another individual who is important to them. The first attachment we form in life is typically for our mother, or primary caregiver, and the way in which this attachment forms has profound repercussions for the rest of our lives. Secure attachment means that the person in question does not doubt the love or care of those who matter to them.....

12 Mar 2018

When will Life Get Back to Normal Now that the Baby is Here?

Having a new baby—especially a first baby—is something that no book can really prepare anyone for. Life can seem to be turned upside down as Mum and Dad adjust to the new arrival, and they may wonder how long things are going to seem so topsy-turvy. Some women suffer from post-partum depression.....

11 Mar 2018

No need to panic!

Panic attacks are quite common, and most people will experience at least one in the course of their lives. They are formally defined as consisting of the sudden onset of extremely intense feelings of fear or discomfort that grow quickly, and reach a peak within just a few minutes. The symptoms they involve include palpitations, an intensely accelerated heart rate, sweating, trembling, and a feeling of being short of breath or being smothered.....

09 Mar 2018

What’s gender non-conformity, and how do I know if I am gender non-conforming?

There’s a lot of talk about gender in the media these days, and a lot of people are thinking about what it means to be a man or woman, a girl or a boy. But what does it mean to “conform” or to be “non-conforming” when we talk about gender? Different societies come up with different norms for males and females.....

06 Mar 2018

Why do we Tell Lies?

Why do people sometimes tell lies? Sometimes the reasons are obvious: to avoid getting into trouble when we have done something wrong; to make things easier for ourselves; to make ourselves look more impressive in certain situations.....

04 Mar 2018

Goals for Winning at Life

Setting goals in our personal lives is something that a lot of us struggle with. Whether we want to lose weight, or work on our pension plan, there are always many reasons to put our goals on the long finger. However, most of us are much better at reaching the goals we are set, or set ourselves, at work. ....

02 Mar 2018

Heart not Parts—the Rise of Pansexuality

To put it simply, whereas a bixsexual person typically identifies as being romantically and sexually attracted to people of both sexes, pansexual people recognise that gender identity is often more complex than a straightforward male/female division, and that they are potentially sexually attracted to anyone. Pansexual people (“pan” comes from the ancient Greek word for “all”) are not sexually attracted to people of any particular gender, so anyone is potentially a mate for them, includi....