Overeating: lose weight with hypnotherapy
Do you ever wonder why you find it had to stick to a diet? When overeating causes you to stray from your diet, then weight gain is unlikely to be just about the food types. Do you find yourself raiding the fridge or the snack cupboard after a bad day at work? If you do, then it can mean that something in your mind is much bigger than the motive you had when you first started your diet. Ignore this ‘something in your mind’ and it will gradually erode the best dietary intentions and cause you to put on weight.
This article focuses on overeating and considers how hypnotherapy can be used as an effective method to treat it.
What is overeating?
Overeating and comfort eating are terms used to describe an increase in your consumption of food. This increase is usually (but, not always) motivated by negative changes in your emotions and feelings. Emotional eating describes either an increase or a decrease in the consumption of food, affected by a change in emotion or feeling. In many ways, these terms overlap but in essence, they describe how a normal eating routine can be altered by a change in emotion or situation. It’s as if the person is temporarily possessed by a mind-state that replaces the original eating intention. After the excessive snack or meal, the person is left questioning “why did I do that?”
Why do you start overeating?
The reason can be a simple one: you are eating too quickly and so you are not able to recognise afeeling of fullness. Slowing down your pace, chewing your food more and drinking water with your meal can help. When you are made aware of this issue during a hypnotherapy consultation, you are likely to make a change to your eating style.
Emotional changes can be more difficult to change. Emotions and feelings are the driving force in so many of your actions or behaviour. When faced with a decision to solve a problem, you will have a surge of emotion that could direct you to act in one way or the other. You are heavily oriented to pursue what is beneficial and keep away from what is harmful.
But these choices are complicated by who will benefit and when will I (or they) benefit. There could be a number of other conflicting questions (or beliefs and values) that intrude on a feeling of choice. Sometimes in despair, you seek an immediate fix or way out from that problem just to feel better.
Food is something within easy reach and has a history of gratification pinned to your memories throughout childhood. You have learned that food can momentarily distance you from the problems in your world and replace it with a sweet sugariness (or a creamy chocolaty treat). It’s no wonder that overeating is so common.
Why does overeating continue?
A surge of emotion can create tension, disguising the usual internal awareness of fullness. You have already learned that food gives you momentary escape and thus a habit has been formed. So you keep overeating with the hope that it will ease the feeling of tension when a new problem surfaces. But some situations appear to have no way out. The overeating is ineffective at shifting the abdominal tension but you repeat the habit nevertheless, believing that it will still help you. You have become locked into a cycle of food being used to solve emotional problems by association. Now, your overeating is causing you to put on weight.
Who does overeating affect?
Overeating can affect anyone; there is an element of over-indulgence in all of us. It can be something that starts unnoticed until you jump on the scales, change a clothing size or hear a polite mention from someone you know (and then despise!) This triggers an awareness of the issue and you will attempt to be more careful. If it’s controlled then it usually fades into the background. When these situations accumulate and the attempts to change it fail, then it is classified as a problem. Hypnotherapy can be a useful solution at this stage.
Would a diet help you to deal with overeating?
Diets work best when someone is motivated to eatdifferent foods within a new routine. They also work best when there is a strong desire to integrate theroutine into your lifestyle. All emotions are pointing in the direction of the new diet. With overeating in the background however, the diet will start and then will soon buckle under emotional strain. One or more emotions will expose your weaknesses until the diet collapses. Unless these emotional issues are dealt with, you will find that diets only work for a short period.
Use hypnotherapy to change the emotional associations you have with food and any lifestyle eating habits. A diet will then seem like a more natural change.
Can overeating be the same as binge eating?
Overeating involves eating in excess, but doesn’t fall into the same severity as binge eating. Binge eating can be classified as an eating disorder. It involves frequent episodes of prolonged uncontrollable eating patterns that go way beyond any feelings of fullness. As a disorder, binge eating can be placed in the same category as anorexia and bulimia; there are a number of complex issues affecting these conditions. Even with hypnotherapy, binge eating is rarely dealt with in a short period of time.
What situations and emotions cause overeating?
Any negative (and some positive) emotions can cause overeating. Generally, overeating can be used to comfort an emotion or divert the arrival of a worse emotion or situation. Positive emotions can include social situations or where food is used as a reward.
Here are some examples of emotional situations where overeating is common:
Anger: A row with your partner about something you both strongly disagree about can trigger a pattern of overeating.
Anxiety: Worrying about and preparing for an exam can be a situation where overeating is used to divert your anxiety.
Apathy: A persistent situation like a court battle can leave you feeling numb. Food might be used to lift the spirits during spells of frustration.
Boredom: Overeating is a common response to a life of routine and drudgery. Even when work has become this way, the emotion carries through into your social life where overeating has become the activity of interest.
Blame: A culture where the outcome of a situation must have a cause can be turned inwardly when you can only point the finger of fault at yourself. A mistake that has caused a row in a relationship may influence overeating to comfort this blame.
Denial: Ironically, overeating can be a behavioural response when someone is putting on weight, but they’re not quite ready to admit that there is a weight problem.
Depression: A change in your job description that now has pointless objectives can create a state of meaninglessness where overeating is a temporary escape.
Despair: Overeating can comfort a situation that appears to have no way out. The arrival of a long-term medical condition is an example.
Disappointment: Food can be used to comfort you when something you expect to happen just didn’t go your way e.g. not getting the grade you wanted in an exam.
Guilt: Overeating can be used to block feelings of guilt in a relationship after you have done something wrong and have been denied the opportunity to apologise or put the situation right.
Hopelessness: An accumulation of stressful events may provoke an overeating response as way of coping with the feelings of resignation.
Loneliness: Feeling isolated because your peer group have not invited you to a social arrangement can trigger an overeating reaction.
Loss of self-confidence: Doubting your abilities may be reinforced when a project at work has not achieved the objective. Overeating is used to negatively reinforce this self-doubt dialogue saying “I can’t do this!”
Procrastination: Food can be a tactical way of delaying dealing with stressful issues.
Resentment: Being constantly excluded from your work colleagues for no apparent reason could provoke an overeating response to counter feelings of loneliness.
Responsibility: A recent job promotion and taking care of a large family can leave you feeling overburdened with responsibility. Overeating can become a ritual that “gives you some space” when things are going wrong and you making risky decisions that are affecting people’s lives.
Sadness: When a relationship has suddenly ended, the emptiness in your life can spark a desire to fill that space with food. Overeating can be something that is used to fill the emotional gap.
Self-hatred: Maliciously lashing out at a loved one to get their attention, but finding that they suffer fatal consequences as a result can cause you to hate yourself. Overeating can be used to conceal your powerlessness to remedy the situation.
Self-pity: When something has gone wrong, overeating can be a way of medicating yourself when others have seen through your attempts to seek attention.
Shame: When a sensitive subject-matter has been exposed and ridiculed by your peer group, overeating can seem like an escape from your feelings of shame.
Shock: The news of an unexpected bereavement can trigger overeating patterns to hide your feelings of grief.
Stress: Overeating can be used as a way of coping with the pressure of having intense work deadlines.
Tension: Physical tension can be generated from any negative emotion or situation. Parts of your body feel tight and you can feel generally irritable. You may not be able to identify the situation but overeating can somehow shift the uneasiness in your abdomen.
Worthlessness: Overeating can be a reaction to numerous criticisms that cause you to question your own abilities. So when you do something wrong again, you reach for food to divert your feelings.
How can hypnotherapy help with overeating?
Each hypnotherapy treatment is individualised to your issues. Hypnotherapy is used to treat overeating in the following ways:
- Hypnotherapy can help identify the emotions or situations that are causing the overeating.
- Hypnotherapy can be used to access unconscious experiences that are provoking your overeating responses.
- Hypnotherapy can help dissociate the overeating behaviour from the emotion or situation.
- Hypnotherapy can help create new beliefs and attitudes towards your eating habits.
- Hypnotherapy can help you to recognise your internal feelings of fullness.
- Hypnotherapy can teach you breathing techniques that reduce your stress levels and so be less dependent on food as your comfort.
For further information on how to control overeating, comfort eating and emotional eating in Cardiff contact Hypnotherapy Cardiff