Most overeating is the result of emotional eating. And a significant cause of all emotional eating is conditioning. In other words, eating becomes a conditioned response to a number of triggers, such as loneliness, anxiety, depression, and feeling unlovable. When those triggers appear in your life, you are conditioned to want to eat.
In addition, however, another important cause of overeating is beliefs, most of which were formed in childhood as a result of interactions with parents.
Here are just a few of the common things parents say and do that lead to beliefs that, in turn, lead to emotional eating.
- “Finish everything on your plate (whether you are hungry or not).”
- “It’s time to eat (whether you are hungry or not).”
- “Don’t eat that or you’ll gain weight.”
- “Good” foods and ”bad” foods.
- “If you gain weight you won’t have any friends.”
- “Shoulds” and “shouldn’ts” around food and eating.
- Parents who are often on diets or who have an eating problem.
Which of these situations were present in your household?
Here are just a few of the possible beliefs that can result from this type of parental behavior and comment.
- If I don’t control my eating I’ll put on weight.
- The way to stay thin is to control my food and exercise a lot.
- If I’m heavy I’ll be rejected.
- I can’t trust my body (to tell me when to eat or stop eating).
- I can’t trust myself to know how much to eat and when to eat.
- The only way to know what and when to eat is to keep things the same.
- If I look fat I’ll be rejected.
- If I gain a few pounds it means I’m out of control.
- My body is revolting. (One woman with this belief is 5’9” and weighs 110 pounds)
- I need to exercise to deserve food.
- I’m not deserving.
- I have to be deserving to eat.
- I’m a fake.
- Sense of self: big, chunky, uncoordinated.
- If I can’t eat “bad” foods, I’m missing out.
- Bad” foods make you fat.
- To lose weight you can’t eat anything “bad.”
- The way to keep food from running my life (like it did my mom’s) is to eat whatever I want to eat.
- If I don’t eat when there’s food around there won’t be any later.
- The way to be in control is to eat what I want, when I want.
- The way to keep from being hungry is to have a lot of food in the house.
Which of these beliefs did you form?
It is possible to permanently stop emotional eating by de-conditioning eating as the response to triggers and the desire for certain rewards, and by eliminating all the relevant beliefs.
For more details, please see my eBook, The Secret to Ending Your Overeating For Good, at http://emotionaleatingreport.com.
Copyright © 2011 Morty Lefkoe