Emotional / comfort eating refers to any eating (over eating or undereating) that is emotional in nature rather than physiological (ie a result of hunger or fullness). Emotional eating has a psychological or emotional trigger that the sufferer may or may not be aware of.
Emotional eating affects a growing number of individuals in the UK. Emotional eating is driven by a psychological or emotional trigger, for example people will often eat as a result of stress or a distressing life event, rather than employing other more adaptive coping mechanisms. Emotional eating usually results in weight loss or gain, and can also leave the individual feeling out of control, guilty or anxious.
…then you are likely to be experiencing emotional eating.
Treatment for emotional eating involves becoming more aware of the triggers to your emotional eating and learning to adopt healthier coping strategies that reduce the chances of weight loss or gain as a result of life stress. Please contact us if you would like to know more about emotional eating treatment options.
CBT is the current leading treatment for most psychological conditions. CBT focuses on your thinking (cognitions), your behaviours (what you do in response to certain thoughts), and your emotions (how you feel in response to certain thoughts). People can often recognise patterns in their thinking that trigger eating behaviours (e.g. I am not good enough, people dont like me, I will feel better if I eat). CBT helps individuals to recognise their unhelpful or negative thinking, see the patterns in their behaviours and develop healthy strategies and skills to challenge or cope with their unhelpful thoughts. CBT is a structured skills based therapy that is most suitable for people who want to be guided by their therapist to find new ways of coping.
Psychotherapy can be a useful treatment for emotional eating when an individual is emotionally eating in response to a current stressful life event. Examples may be a relationship breakdown, family transitions or general low mood / depression.
Devised by the psychologists at The London Centre, this eight week program combines cognitive behavioural principles, distress tolerance skills, and psychoeducation to help people explore and address the factors behind their overeating. The goals of this treatment program are to develop a healthier relationship with food and with your body. Treatment will enable you to reduce physiological and psychological triggers to overeating as to challenge the intense self body criticism that most emotional eaters struggle with.
Your psychologist will be able to talk to you about your treatment needs and the most appropriate treatment for you during your initial assessment
Breaking free from compulsive eating by Geneen Roth
Overcoming Binge Eating by Christopher Fairburn