It's the message we hear over and over again: that sticking to a healthy weight boils down to eating the right food and exercising more. What we don't hear so loudly is how we can tackle one of weight management's most common saboteurs - emotional eating.
'With emotional eating, dieting is barking up the wrong tree. You need to get to the reason behind the eating,' says Louise Adams, a Sydney-based clinical psychologist who specialises in eating disorders and emotional eating.
'We need to recognise that it's OK to have a strong feeling that makes you feel bad - yet we have this idea in our culture that a negative feeling must be banished straight away. Look how often we distract children with something like a biscuit if they're upset,' she says. 'We're not taught to ride out the feeling. Instead we learn to numb it with alcohol, eating or drugs.'
'Yet if you learn to sit with the feeling, you realise that it's like a wave - it builds in intensity and then it passes. It's very empowering to realise you can handle it. I think that as parents we need to teach kids that negative emotions happen, that we're not happy all the time. If my five-year-old says she's annoyed because of something her sister did, I'll say, 'Being annoyed is normal.'
''We don't know. However, we do know that eating disorders are increasing and that emotional eating is a central feature of eating disorders. Although it has always been a problem that tends to affect women, we're now seeing more men with emotional eating,'' says Adams, who believes tackling the stigma that goes with being overweight could help.
'It's the last bastion of acceptable discrimination. I've lost count of the larger clients I've had who don't eat while they're at work because they're ashamed of being seen eating - and who then go home and overeat because they were so hungry.'
Source Link: http://www.smh.com.au...
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