Emotional eating is a very human experience. We don’t just use food for fuel, we use it to celebrate, to comfort, to ease stress, to show love, and to medicate painful emotions. So when does emotional eating turn from something moderate and natural into something that is compulsive and unhealthy?
When emotional eating takes a turn into a type of eating that becomes unmanageable, automatic and with negative consequences, we call it compulsive eating. Compulsive eating can become a very vicious cycle for people who become dependent on food as a numbing agent against painful emotions. Our brains actually reinforce this kind of eating by setting up neurological pathways that allow “feel good” chemicals to surge through our systems when we binge on foods that are high in sugar, fats and salt. So, we get a mood altering neurochemical effect from eating which can become habitual for people.
This intense emotional eating can exact a heavy toll on one’s physical, emotional and social life.
Not everyone who compulsively eats deals with obesity. For the large majority of people obesity is one of the devastating negative physical consequences that comes from their unhealthy relationship with food. But, there are others who are secretly at war in their heads with food, but you might never know it. This is a painful and lonely emotional life to live.
There is help for compulsive eating, binge eating, intense emotional overeating, food addiction. Whatever you wish to call it, it is an epidemic in our society, and more resources and programs are needed which target this underserved population.
Here in Las Vegas, I direct a program called Kayenta Lifestyle Transformation. This is an outpatient compulsive eating program which helps clients to change the way they eat, live and connect to their life.
For more information, please visit: Kayentatherapy.com Click on the help for compulsive eating tab.
Take the brave step of caring for yourself and those around you by seeking help.