When I first discovered Natural Eating in 1996 I had completely lost confidence, not only in my relationship with food but in all aspects of my life. I was suffering from depression and had a very low self-esteem. The first thing that enabled me to build up my confidence was to learn how to eat normally from a group of women who had been through exactly what I had been through. They had all suffered from Bulimia or over-eating and recovered by learning to eat naturally. If they could do it, then so could I.
Then I had to be realistic. I had been fighting myself around food and body image for 20 years, this was not going to happen overnight. I had to learn to listen to and trust my body again after years of trying to control it.
I also had to take a leap of faith. When Natural eating was first explained to me I thought well that makes sense but I couldn't possibly do it. I will just start eating and never stop if I'm allowed to eat whatever I want when
Even if we're on a diet plan, we're all guilty of overeating from time to time, especially when it comes to those special occasions - family get-togethers, dining out or attending special events. You know what I'm talking about - that bloated, uncomfortable feeling in the stomach, sometimes resulting in stomach-ache, after a huge meal.
Lots of us do it once in a while. But occasionally overeating is not Binge Eating Disorder. The National Association of Anorexia and Associated Disorders (ANAD) describe this disorder as: "Characterized by insatiable cravings that can occur any time of the day or night, usually secretive, and filled with shame."
According to the UK National Health Service (NHS) they define this affliction as "Binge eating is an eating disorder where a person feels compelled to overeat on a regular basis through regular binges". The general rule of thumb is given as at least once a week over a prolonged period of 3 months or longer.
So What Causes Binge Eating?
Experts are not clear on the exact causes of eating disorders generally, and this includes binge eating. But it's generally accepted that it
Many suffer from what is known as emotional eating. In this condition food is eaten for pleasure instead of for sustenance as it is intended. It is used as a coping mechanism to alleviate distressful feelings, such as, sadness, pain, depression, anger, boredom and other related emotions.
Emotional eating is much different than eating to satisfy real hunger, and it can be a culprit in weight gain, obesity, and emotional and psychological distress due to the guilt and shame that it can induce in those who engage in it.
Typically the emotional eater will choose unhealthy foods, like, ice cream, cookies and other sweets because it is the fat and sugar in them that brings a feeling of contentment and euphoria as they induce reward centers in the brain to release "feel good" chemicals, such as, the body's natural pain killers, opioids.
Emotional eating can be severe or an occasional occurrence, but, for most it becomes a habit, and something that unfortunately they are not even aware exists in their own lives. Old habits die hard as the saying goes, and those who are unaware automatically
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I spent 20 years avoiding my feelings and emotions by eating. I didn't acknowledge how I was feeling, or allow myself to grieve or cry. I simply kept myself numb by bingeing and exercising excessively. This just ensured I remained stuck and couldn't heal and move forward with my life.
Once I began to acknowledge my feelings I could then begin to deal with them in positive, loving and caring ways. I couldn't change what had happened to me in my past, but I could acknowledge that I was hurt, sad, and lonely and then decide to move forward instead of focussing on the past.
It's hard to feel our feelings, but ignoring them certainly doesn't help. Once you acknowledge them you can then do something to get them out of your body instead of holding them in with food. Some suggestions are:
· Journaling, or
· Physical activity
Then once you have released the emotion you can think clearly and make a positive plan based on being kind to yourself and giving yourself comfort in loving ways, rather than using food. It's really important to remember that when our body is not hungry, it doesn't want food. Acknowledging how you
There are few things more painful than feeling worthless or "not good enough," minute by minute, day by day, and year by year. I know because I have felt that way myself, much of the time during the first half of my 60 years. Additionally, I have provided counsel and treatment to many hundreds of individuals who have felt similar feelings over the past 30 years as a clinician. To those individuals, their beliefs went well beyond emotion. In fact, many of them felt that they knew "beyond any doubt" that they were as worthless as they felt. How painful it is to live in that place, and yet how wonderful it is that there is hope for every one of us - that we can improve our sense of self, even to the absolute knowledge that we are wonderful beyond anything that words can express. It is this gradual but growing understanding that can increase motivation to change. You, and I are worth the effort it takes to transcend illness and create a recovered life.
Why is it that we medical and mental health professionals dedicate our lives to helping those suffering from illness? There are many reasons, but key
Studies have shown that food addiction manifests itself into uncontrollable craving for foods in response to stress. Whenever you're feeling lonely and having a hard time dealing with all your problems and challenges in life, the first thing you want to do is to put something inside your mouth and relax without really bothering about the possible effects it may have on your body. Comfort Food Addiction and Emotional Stress always seem to have a link between each other because studies have proven that foods is used to soothe heavy feeling that's been placed on your shoulders as mention above.
Foods, especially sugary ones will make our brain send some endorphins, and as a result it will make you feel better but it only works for a short period of time. We don't always eat food to satisfy our hunger, but unfortunately comfort foods doesn't fix emotional stress either. It usually makes you feel worse more than anything else after eating a whole gallon of ice cream and making your stomach bloat, thus only adding it to your burden; feeling guilty for overeating.
Emotional eating is using food from time to time by filling your emotional needs than what your stomach really
Why don' t you just go on a diet? Really? "I'm so sick of hearing it," Jenny said. "Do people think I enjoy being fat? If it were easy, I'd lose weight. I'm so miserable!"
Jenny was stuck. She knew she had a food problem, but nothing she had tried in the past had ever worked. She was fifty pounds overweight and she felt tired, frustrated, marginalized in the workplace, and ready to give up.
Jenny suffers from a common problem: compulsive overeating. It started when she was little and her mother would use food as a solution to Jenny's problems. Jenny never learned how to deal with painful emotions---she just ate. Over time, she learned to associate food with comfort.
Compulsive overeaters use food to distract, bury, or calm strong emotions. They live with guilt, shame and often have impulse problems in other areas of their lives.
What's the solution? What can folks like Jenny do to break the addiction cycle? Two things: choose to make a lifestyle change, and be willing to get naked with their pain.
To break the cycle, Jenny needed to start noticing the pain she'd buried with food. Eating may fill you for the moment, but the pain is
I listened to a Ted Talk this week called Breathing into Life by Brad Lichtenstein, ND. He asked a question of the audience that drives his medical practice and his work with people seeking healing from physical ailments: How do you want to live?
That question struck me as one we could all benefit from asking ourselves, especially as we are warming up into 2015. As is tradition, we set resolutions for the New Year that rarely last and quickly fall by the wayside - and of course, most of the time these resolutions are about unhealthy and unrealistic expectations about our relationship with our body, diet, and exercise. I wonder what might happen if instead of resolutions we spent some time pondering or contemplating these questions: How do we want to live? Is the way in which we are living a reflection of our deepest values as human beings? How do we discover our gifts and talents? What we can give back to the world?
This can certainly be a collective question of a community of people; however for the purpose of this exploration, let's make it a bit more personal.
Take a moment to ask yourself the questions: is the way
Summer Solstice marks the day when the sun will appear at its highest point in the sky and there is more daylight than any other day in the year. This year, solstice will begin on June 21st for those of us in the Northern half of the world. This day ushers in the beginning of summer and bears a special recognition for the wondrousness of the sun and all it does to sustain our life. Our sun, the fiery ball in the sky, is an incredible life force for us on earth as it marks the beginning and ending of each day, provides us with natural Vitamin D, life giving heat, light, and ultimately holds the solar system together.
In many ancient cultures summer solstice was celebrated with festivals, holidays, and rituals. For those of us in the West, we are often having a different kind of celebration: a break from school or a vacation from work. Quite fitting as the word solstice is derived from the Latin words sol (sun) and sistere (to stand still or stop). Summer is a time to break from the rigors and stress of school or work and engage in relaxation and play. For many
Do you ever have the sense that you just can't quit eating? That there is never enough? That you are a bottomless pit? These experiences are an opportunity to look deeper, to find out what may be going on behind it.
Don't blame your food or weight. Allow yourself to look deeper. You may discover that this sense of not getting enough permeates your life.
You may find you live life from an inner sense of poverty, a deep down sense of lack that virtually guarantees no amount of food will satisfy you. That no amount of friends, sex, clothes, or money will satisfy you.
When you look closer, you may find that feeling deprived of food today can be based on a very real experience of having been deprived in the past.
Consider a child who couldn't get enough of her mother's love. There is nothing the child can do about this. But as an adult, she is in control of how much food she could eat. So she eats more to make up for not having had enough of something vital in her past, in this case, love.
Feeling deprived of love can also have the opposite effect when the desire to feel
Restriction and deprivation around food is such a catch 22. We think we are doing the right thing by giving our body healthy food in limited amounts. However what it actually does is make us feel hungry and deprived, which leads to craving, which ultimately leads to bingeing.
When we restrict ourselves it actually has the opposite effect we want, as we crave what we're "not allowed" and eventually binge on it.
I did this for 20 years, trying every diet known to man only to lose weight initially and quite quickly, but putting it back on again as soon as I stopped the diet. Eventually it got so bad that I was bingeing every night and over exercising every day to ensure I didn't put the weight on. (Although I could never keep up and my weight kept going up). Eventually I was diagnosed with Depression and bulimia and shown how to eat naturally (mindfully).
One of the keys to eating naturally is to eat exactly what you want. When you know you are "allowed" anything and that there are absolutely no restrictions a strange thing happens. You actually don't want the unhealthy food. The only reason you want it now is
If you are struggling with emotional eating, you're not alone.
I still catch myself doing it - just the other day I sat down in front of my computer and opened up a bag of Terra chips and started shoveling them in. I stopped myself before I ate the entire bag because I became aware of what I was doing. Typically, when we eat due to emotions, it's common to "check-out" and just not be present.
I stopped and asked myself "Am I really hungry?" And the answer was no- I realized that I was bored. So I put the chips away and went for a walk.
I have been practicing being mindful about my food choices for quite some time, so I was able to quickly use the tools in my tool box to get back on track.
If you want some tools in your toolbox, here are some helpful hints that you can practice to end emotional eating.
#1 - Don't keep junk in the house.
I am sure you have heard this one before, and that is because it works. If it's not in the house, you won't be tempted. I know- your kids, your partner, your dog- won't be happy with
Binge eating or out-of-control eating is a way of eating and using food that has no relationship to hunger or to nutrition and is a form of self-abuse. The size of the binge eating population group is under-estimated at 3.5% of women and 2% of men. Keep in mind that most binge eaters do not report their problem in a way that gets included in an "official" statistical headcount. A more accurate estimate is that binge eaters represent anywhere from 20% to 40% of the dieting population.
If you're a binge eater, you know it. For those of you who need a definition, it's this. Food is rapidly eaten over a short period of a time, usually within an hour. Eaters are agitated during a binge, meaning they may be pacing, frequently getting up and down, or they may go out to buy food. Eaters experience a sense of being out-of-control with food and eat way beyond fullness, often to extreme discomfort. They often feel like they're in an altered state or mind or trance. Binges are usually done in secret or at least out of sight of others. The difference between pigging out and binge eating is that binge eating
The topic of emotional eating hits home for so many people. It's very common, so don't feel ashamed if this is a problem for you. It is important to not beat yourself up over anything while you are working on making improvements.
Emotional hunger is different from physical hunger, but it can be difficult to tell the difference between the two. Emotional hunger can cause these symptoms:
• Feelings of pain in the heart
• Feeling that something in your life is missing
• Feeling of needing comfort
• Needing to fill a void in your life
This is different from physical hunger, which commonly feels like:
• Emptiness in the stomach
• Lack of energy
• Grumbling noises
It is important to ask yourself before you eat whether you feel physically hungry. If you realize you aren't, you need to figure out what it is you are actually feeling that is causing you to want food. Here are some feelings that can cause people to want food: sadness, anger, confusion, fear, depression, boredom, disappointment, upset, moodiness, irritation, feeling unsure, bothered, perplexed, procrastination, stress.
The process of eating is supposed to be enjoyable, but eating in order to cope with an emotion or fix something in your life is not
Bulimia is a possibly critical eating disorder notable for periods of uncontrolled consuming of food. Binges are accompanied by unhealthily cleansing oneself of what is eaten. Purging techniques can include too much activity, improper use of diuretics or laxatives, going on a fast or self-induced regurgitation. One of the numerous negative effects of bulimia is a reduced resting metabolic rate. Therefore, you burn off a smaller amount of calories when in a resting state. This works against weight reduction initiatives. A portion of recuperation from bulimia is dietary treatment, where you speak to a dietitian to find out about diet and start improving your metabolism to fulfill your fat burning objectives in a wholesome manner.
• Consume smaller, regular portions during the day. The majority of people commit the error of limiting calories and missing daily meals, especially the morning meal. Missing daily meals and limiting calories really decreases the metabolism and stops weight reduction. Begin every day with a wholesome morning meal containing food items that offer energy and help you stay feeling satisfied for a longer time. A few examples of healthful breakfast time food items are wheat toast, lower fat yogurt and egg whites. Always consume smaller portions
This is a very interesting topic which funnily enough keeps coming up for me. I spent 20 years of my life ensuring I didn't show my vulnerability. I was extremely uncomfortable sharing my emotions or letting anyone get too close to me. In my eyes I actually had good reason to be as I had experienced a great deal of loss as a child. I now know that I thought, "Well if I don't get close to people then there is no chance of the people I love leaving me or dying". Unfortunately that meant I was very closed, very introverted and unhappy and used food and excessive exercise to control my emotions instead.
Although it can hurt to be vulnerable, ultimately it can lead to love, joy and belonging as well. So if we don't allow ourselves to show our vulnerability unfortunately we are closing ourselves off to the possibility of the actual joy of life.
It takes courage to open ourselves up and trust our feelings and beliefs with someone else. We fear we will be ridiculed or put down or rejected, however often this is only our perception. We are all worthy of love and joy however for some
To eat naturally we need to be able to tune into our body's natural instincts. That means really listening to our body so we can hear what it is telling us. This then enables us to eat only for the physical need when we are actually hungry.
However, what I have found is that a number of my clients struggle to listen to their body because there is too much negativity or "chatter" going on in their heads. This can be for a number of reasons such as:
· past experiences
· other people's ideas/opinions/comments
· they don't trust themselves
· they aren't quiet for long enough to hear.
· they've got into negative habits over time.
The two ways I have found to be successful in counteracting this negativity are:
With affirmations we are replacing negative thoughts with positive statements. When they are repeated often enough, we begin to believe them and take positive action. Great affirmations are those that start with "I am... " This tells the brain you are actually doing what you are saying which is far more effective than "I will... " or "I want to... ", which may never happen. It is important to say these regularly so they become
After eating naturally for 20 years I now know that I used to use food to control my emotions. I was completely unable to cope with a lot of things that had happened in my life. So instead of acknowledging them and allowing myself to feel loss, sadness, and grief I ate instead.
This meant I didn't have to feel because that was too hard and completely overwhelming. I was able to control my feelings by using food. To be honest I probably lived for 20 years of my life in a fog, doing what I needed to get through the day, but not actually living or feeling.
When I was diagnosed with depression and bulimia in 1996 I was completely blown away. I'd more or less worked out that I was suffering from depression as most days I didn't want to get out of bed. But the fact that I had Bulimia was a real eye opener. That's because I never made myself sick, what I did was exercise excessively instead. Eventually I learnt that this was simply another form of purging. It was also another form of control. I would eat very little and only "healthy" food, exercise at least
We live in a strange world. It seems that everyone has to be skinny to be beautiful. And the constant popping up of new trendy diets (usually bad diets) almost every week that promises you'll lose weight fast, it might seem anyone can lose weight quickly and without much efforts. The problem with these diets is that they tend to be ineffective and they might even be dangerous for your health, both on short and long term.
There are many products in the market, and many marketing campaigns designed exactly to convince you to give these products and diets a try. From diet pills, juice cleanses, lists of good foods vs. bad foods for weight loss, to supplements that replace or boost natural ingredients. And what may simply start as a way to lose just a few pounds, it may quickly turn out into an eating disorder.
Eating disorders are very serious and can, in some cases, even cause death. They cause severe problems to your eating behaviors and they need to be treated.
Eating disorders are more commonly developed during teenage and young adult years, and they are more common among girls and women. Although no one knows exactly what causes them,