Stop Emotional Eating

Written by Janice Bowles

3 Reasons Why Emotional Eating Prevents Weight Loss

Have you ever wondered how to stop emotional eating and achieve your weight loss goal? 

Well, if you are struggling to control your eating here are 3 reasons why emotional eating prevents weight loss. Then, continue reading for, "What are the best solutions?

Many people who want to lose weight have a daily battle with food. At least, that's what if feels like. However, the battle isn't so much with food but with our emotions. It feels as though we cannot resist the food we deem as 'bad' food or 'too much food' thereby making food the problem.

When you can shift your attention from food being the issue and instead address the feelings that arise, food itself is no longer seen as 'the enemy'.

To end this struggle with food we want to address what lies behind food cravings. This could be to do with nutritional imbalance and our conscious and unconscious beliefs. 

Nutritional imbalance: the consequences of eating too much sugar or carbohydrates especially when eaten regularly can have negative implications for our health. Apart from weight gain, it can affect our mood which in turn causes us to reach for more sugar rich high carbs food.

Unconscious beliefs: we all have unconscious beliefs that drive our behaviour and which affect us emotionally. We form our unconscious beliefs from our life experiences, especially during childhood. These can be positive as well as negative experiences. For instance, a parent who shows love by over feeding (perhaps to soothe their guilt for some reason) sets up an unconscious program for eating food when we experience positive emotions akin to 'love'. On the other hand, excessive criticism can create issues of low self-esteem, which we may then attempt to soothe by over eating.

An effective way of dealing with any unconscious 'programming' as it were, is by tapping into the power of the unconscious mind. My hypnosis weight loss audio, which helps to stop emotional eating naturally is just one example of working with the unconscious mind to positively change unconscious beliefs.

Let's now look at how you can stop emotional eating and the reasons why it prevents weight loss. 

1. Stress and Food Choices

Everyday anxiety, stress or worries can not only lead to weight gain but also prevent weight loss. Here's a brief look at how that works.

Stress affects us emotionally with many different feelings including fear, anxiety, anger, frustration, sadness and so on. This surge in emotions feels extremely unpleasant and it's a natural instinct to find ways to ease, stop and resist them. Food is just one way we attempt to do this.

When stressed we tend to reach for those comfort foods that contain high calories as these are the kinds of foods that trigger the 'feel good' hormones.

The stress hormone cortisol increases when we feel stressed. This in turn raises insulin levels causing blood sugar to drop, hence a craving for those sugar rich and fatty foods. 

The initial comfort that we may get from eating these high sugar foods is short-lived however, and the ensuing fallout makes us want to reach for even more high calorie foods. So you can see how stress influences our food choices and eating behaviour.

Because the drive for comfort is so strong, any initial resolve we might have can easily be overridden. The short-term gain of comfort is more powerful than the long-term gain to be slim. We are strongly motivated to deal with the present emotion we are feeling, overlooking that it will be putting extra weight on our body. Where emotions are concerned, their need is greater.  

Therefore, stress and emotions are interlinked: Many people worry about their weight but whether the worry is about weight or anything else, the same stress hormones are released within the body. In other words, worrying about weight isn't helpful, yet is easier said than done!

By addressing stress the knock-on benefit is a more effective way to achieve the desired weight loss goal.

2. Fad Diets Don’t Work!

Fad diets often become the preferred method for rapid weight loss when emotional eating gets the better of our weight loss goal.

But there's a problem with fad dieting especially when it's repeated over and over again. This kind of dieting actually causes the body to store more fat! Which means that when calorie intake is suddenly and severely reduced, the body and brain thinks its being ‘starved’ of food and calories, so it hangs on to the fat and loses muscle mass first.

As hunger and a sense of deprivation sets in, even the strongest willed among us will cave in eventually. As the body is relieved to receive those extra calories, it craves high fat and sugary foods and stores the fat more effectively, just in case another famine comes along!

The emotional roller coaster of starving the body then bingeing puts fad diets on the list of why emotional eating prevents weight loss.  

3. Counting calories doesn’t address the emotional part

So, what about those diets that give you a 'plan' such as controlling portion sizes by calorie counting?

These are fine to a point because understanding which foods are best for your body and having a basic understanding of calorie content in food is always a good thing. But there's a whole lot more to weight control than simply controlling the food you pop into your mouth!

Counting calories and constantly watching what you eat simply keeps you focused upon food more of the time. For many, this becomes stress inducing and keeping this up forever is no way to live.

Besides, it doesn’t address the underlying urges you get of wanting to eat when life challenges come along or when your brain is trying to call you to food, when know you don't really need it.

So, although having a good knowledge of food values is essential in maintaining a healthy weight, when you eat for emotional reasons, there's a a fundamental missing part that has nothing to do with counting calories.

What Are the Best Solutions?

Think of your emotions like sign posts

Think of your emotions like sign posts. They are pointing you towards something, possibly something that is missing in your life.

When you address this missing part, you automatically feel uplifted and when your mood changes and you feel better you no longer seek the comfort that overeating was trying to fulfil.

So you may ask, "What could I be missing?"

Well, it could be that you need to take time for yourself more, or that you could do with some extra help or support at work or at home. Maybe there's a level of dissatisfaction in your life that you haven't fully recognised yet.

Perhaps you're not getting sufficient emotional or physical attention in your everyday life. Or maybe you lack a sense of achievement, with work or a relationship. It could be as simple as getting more sleep and improving sleep habits.

Sometimes, past experiences that haven't been resolved can affect mood and behaviour but you may not be consciously aware of its underlying affect upon you. For instance, someone that was told that they would never amount to much can suffer with anxiety or depression. Resolving this will assist in healing the emotional hole it left behind. 

Emotions are powerful and affect our behaviour in so many ways. When you have an understanding of your emotions, this insight allows you to read those 'sign posts' better when they flag up.

Get 1-1 support to fast track your weight loss goal

Many people struggle to lose weight on their own and this is where getting help from a medical professional, a nutritionist, therapist or weight loss coach will support you in achieving your weight loss goal.

It may be confusing to know which of these professions would work best for you so I have added a brief description below.  

Before committing to hiring private help, make sure that you can have an initial and preferably no-charge consultation first. This gives you the opportunity to find out if the person you choose to work with is a good fit for you and to ask any questions you may have. Don't be afraid to ask 'difficult' questions. You are investing in yourself so this is an important step.

Medical professional: your doctor may be able to support you with your weight loss goal but of course their time is limited so you'll probably be given information sheets. Depending upon where you live, there me be options for free support through your GP so it's always worth asking.

Fee: usually free if available but waiting times may be long.

Nutritionist: a nutritionist will provide an in-depth consultation of your needs and devise a special dietary plan for you to follow. 

Fees: An average fee for a 1-hour session with a nutritionist in the UK is between £50 to £80. This will vary according to location. In the US the average fee is $80 per hour.   

Life Coach / Weight Loss Coach: a coach will not provide a plan for you but WILL help you devise and achieve your weight loss goal with you. To do this they will ask you targeted questions, about your goal, lifestyle, circumstances, potential obstacles and the way forward. They will be your cheer leader and support you along they way. They will encourage you and help you get back on track if you 'stumble'. They know how to help you understand any beliefs you may have that hold you back and how to move beyond them. They will help you create a vision for success and they will be with you for as long as you need them and wish to hire them. 

Fees: Life Coaches often have monthly plans from around £200 per month. This will often consist of 1 session per week, which could be 30-60 minutes duration per session. Individuals sessions are sometimes available at £30 to £80 (or more) per session. In the US Life Coaches charge from $200 per month. Sessions may be offered in-person, via online or over the telephone.

Hypnotherapy: a hypnotherapist will help you train your mind and eating habits to help keep you aligned with your goal. Hypnosis works with the part of your mind where deep learning and new patterns of behaviour can be established to help support you in achieving your desired weight. 

Fees: in the UK vary depending upon location are from £50 upwards per session, with session duration varying between 60 and 90 minutes. 

Many of these therapeutic interventions can be held online, including hypnotherapy making it really easy for people to get the help and support they need. 

Click on the button below if you would like to arrange a no-fee chat with me to discuss your weight loss goals.

I hope that you have found this information useful in helping you understand how to stop emotional eating.



EFT Weight Loss, emotional eating, stress and weight gain, Weight Loss

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