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Eating disorders are about emotional pain, not food

Eating Disorders

Eating disorders, which strike all types of people worldwide, are of three categories:

  • Anorexia: Restrictive and limited eating.
  • Binge eating disorder: Eating too much at once, where a person escapes out of life circumstances to focus on food.
  • Bulimia: Eating followed by self-induced vomiting.

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IDEA EXTRACTED FROM:

Eating disorders are about emotional pain, not food

Eating disorders are about emotional pain, not food

https://www.popsci.com/story/health/eating-disorder-emotional-pain/

popsci.com

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Key Ideas

Eating Disorders

Eating disorders, which strike all types of people worldwide, are of three categories:

  • Anorexia: Restrictive and limited eating.
  • Binge eating disorder: Eating too much at once, where a person escapes out of life circumstances to focus on food.
  • Bulimia: Eating followed by self-induced vomiting.

Emotional Problem

Eating disorders are not a choice, but a deeply emotional and psychological problem. Many patients feel empty and numb in their world outlook, and others are dealing with guilt, shame or embarrassment due to their life circumstances and body image.

The feelings that are the root cause of such disorders need to be identified and then a strategy to handle those feelings can be created.

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Why food

Negative emotions may lead to a feeling of emptiness or an emotional void. 

Food is believed to be a way to fill that void and create a false feeling of “

Emotional vs. true hunger

Physical hunger

  • It develops slowly over time.
  • You desire a variety of food groups.
  • You feel the sensation of fullness and take it as a cue to stop eating.
  • You have no negative feelings about eating.

Emotional hunger

  • It comes about suddenly or abruptly.
  • You crave only certain foods.
  • You may binge on food and not feel a sensation of fullness.
  • You feel guilt or shame about eating.
Emotional hunger isn’t easily quelled

While filling up could work in the moment, eating because of negative emotions often leaves people feeling more upset than before.

This cycle typically doesn’t end until a person addresses emotional needs head-on.

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Intuitive eating
Intuitive eating

Rejects the diet mentality, promotes giving yourself permission to eat without labeling some foods "good” and others “bad,” acknowledging when you’re eating your feelings and accepting the body you...

Making peace with food

It doesn’t mean giving in to every craving; it means getting rid of the idea of “giving in” to “bad foods” altogether. Eat that Oreo when you want it, without any negative emotion attached, and you won’t feel like you need to eat the whole bag.

Respect your fullness

Listen for the body signals that tell you that you are no longer hungry. Intuitive eating is about understanding what foods your body feels best eating, and how to make your own food choices based on your own hunger and fullness

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Fasting
It involves eating no or very little food and caloric beverages for periods ranging from 12 hours to three weeks.

Human studies on fasting are only just beginning to ramp up. And while we ha...

Popular types of fasting
  • Intermittent fasts: eating no food or massively cutting back on calorie intake only intermittently;
  • Time-restricted feeding: involves consuming calories only for a 4- to 6-hour window each day.
  • Periodic fasts, the most extreme, typically last several days or longer. 
  • Fasting-mimicking diet, a plant-based diet that involves eating very few calories for several days each month. 
Religious fasting

Many religious groups incorporate periods of fasting into their rituals, though the focus there tends to be more spiritual than health-oriented: Muslims fast from dawn until dusk during the month of Ramadan, Christians, Jews, Buddhists, and Hindus who traditionally fast on designated days of the week or calendar year.

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Eating Disorders
Eating Disorders

Eating disorders, from binge eating to calorie counting, or feeling guilty of eating 'bad' foods can wreak havoc on our health and happiness.

The core issue lies within our emotions, and ...

Eating to Relieve Emotional Discomfort

Eating can be an emotional activity, with deep connections on how our brains and bodies work. Emotional overeaters are:

  • Having a feeling of resentment after neglecting one's own needs to appease others.
  • Feeling undeserving of their success, with a fear of being shamed.
  • Being a perfectionist and being constantly anxious about the possible mistakes.
  • Suppressing of all negative emotions.

Overeaters tend to have an 'all-or-nothing' approach oscillating between an all-good diet or an outright unhealthy one, depending on the particular underlying emotion.

Being in Control

To be in control does not mean restraining. A person who is in control should have the capacity and freedom to self-govern.

Rather than fighting with your body, provide it with an autonomous control by allowing all kinds of foods back in your life, yet eating consciously, paying attention to your meals, savoring them fully. Being mindful can maximize your pleasure and minimize your eating.

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Reject the diet mentality

Dieting isn’t sustainable. Quick-fix plans cannot deliver lasting results.
T
he first principle of intuitive eating is to stop dieting—and to stop believing societ...

Honor your hunger

Eat a sufficient amount of calories and carbohydrates to keep your body “fed” and satiated. Once you learn to recognize these signals in your own body, it becomes much easier to trust your instincts and repair unhealthy relationships with food.

Make peace with food

Give yourself “unconditional permission to eat.”

People realize they don’t really want that food that was forbidden before; they just got caught up in society telling them they couldn’t have it.

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Ultra-Processed Foods

Ultra-processed foods like white bread, cereal, chips, and wafers are remarkably common, convenient, affordable, extremely profitable for the makers, come in strong flavors and are aggressively ma...

Our Everyday Foods

We consume ultra-processed foods every day without even realizing it.

  • The morning cereal and flavored yogurt.
  • The savory snacks and sweet baked goods.
  • The vegan hotdog and the chicken nuggets available on the street.
  • The doughnut or the premium protein bar we buy as a snack.
  • The carton-packed almond milk put in our coffee or the diet coke we have.
Apart from obesity, ultra-processed foods are responsible for depression, asthma, heart disease, gastrointestinal disorders, and even cancer.
More Light On Ultra-Processed Foods

Most cooked foods can be termed as 'processed foods', but ultra-processed foods are in a different domain, with few people having the clarity to differentiate.

A cooked carrot is processed food, but a bag of industrially-produced, carrot-flavored veggie puffs are ultra-processed and are still aimed at toddlers as a portion of natural food. Other examples include frozen peas or pasteurized milk.

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Stress

For most people, eating feels good. And in times of stress, some people use food as the best way to calm their emotions. 

Identify stress triggers and do your best...

Depression

Depression-related symptoms like sleeplessness or inactivity can make weight loss more difficult. Some commonly prescribed antidepressants can cause you to gain weight as well.

The first step is to get screened for depression. Talk to your doctor about getting a referral to a mental health professional. He or she will be able to investigate further and determine whether you have depression and give you helpful advice for moving forward.

Personal Trauma

If you have experienced emotional trauma, it could be affecting your eating habits and your weight. Your past experiences might prevent you from losing weight in the present day. 

To reach your goal, you may want to work through the issues with a qualified professional.

Food cravings

They are an intense desire for a specific food. This desire can seem uncontrollable, and the person's hunger may not be satisfied until they get that particular food. We usually feel cr...

What causes food cravings
  • An imbalance or changes in hormones
  • Emotional issues (eating for comfort)
  • Nutritional deficiencies
  • Dehydration 
How to reduce cravings
  • Lower stress levels: stress promotes cravings for comfort foods.
  • Drink plenty of water: Dehydration manifests itself as hunger, so when you get a craving, drink water.
  • Get enough sleep: not getting enough sleep alters the hormonal balance.
  • Eat enough protein.
  • Avoid hunger: under-eating can make food cravings worse.
Awareness Is Key

Emotional eating is sometimes called "mindless eating" because we often don't think about what we're doing and let our unconscious habits or drives take over.

Find Relaxation Techniques

When you’re under stress, your body is likely producing higher levels of cortisol, a stress hormone that tends to make people crave sweet and salty food—the stuff that’s generally not good for us. 

Create a simple stress management plan, or find stress relievers that fit with your specific situation.

Cope in Healthy Ways

Many people use food to deal with uncomfortable emotions like anger, frustration, and fear. There are healthier ways to cope with emotions:

  • Talking to a friend.
  • Journaling: When you feel like reaching for unhealthy food, reach for a pen instead.
  • Exercise.

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