Do you tend to eat when your feeling depressed, angry or stressed? If so you could be an emotional eater. To help understand where emotional eating stems from and what you can do to overcome emotional eating, I have interviewed psychologist Lori Boothroyd.
Tell me a little bit about yourself.
“I’m a licensed Psychologist with a doctorate in counseling psychology, as well as a Professional Certified Coach, specializing in health and wellness psychology. I teach workshops and help my clients overcome emotional eating.”
Where does emotional eating stem from?
“Emotional eating can have a myriad of causes that are a little different for everyone. Typically, emotional eating begins as a “quick fix” to help us cope with stress and other uncomfortable emotions. We sometimes learn to “self-soothe” with food while growing up, and we’re all aware of “comfort foods” from our family history. It is normal to eat “emotionally” at times, but it is important that food doesn’t become a substitute for expressing and coping with emotions, or learning how to effectively reduce our stress levels. If food is the first thing we turn to as a way to manage our emotions, we are caught in a vicious cycle.”
What type of impact can emotional eating have on a person’s overall life?
“Emotional eating, in excess, often leads to other emotional states such as depression, anxiety, poor self-esteem and difficulties in connecting with others. It can also increase health issues and lead to weight gain. Again, at times we all eat to balance our emotions, but when we primarily eat to cope, the results are long-term challenges and negative consequences.”
What can someone do to overcome emotional eating?
“There are many pathways to overcome emotional eating patterns. Identifying the triggers that lead to emotional eating is an important first step. We all have unique patterns and triggers that “set us off” and leave us more vulnerable to emotional eating. Learning to be aware of our emotions and mindful of those moments when we can make healthy choices are both major steps to minimizing emotional eating. Meeting our needs in ways that don’t involve food helps us to “short circuit” the emotional eating cycle. It is a learning process that takes time, patience and commitment.”
What type of professional help is available for someone who wants to overcome emotional eating?
“There are growing numbers of psychologists; counselors and wellness coaches available who specialize in helping clients break free from patterns of emotional eating. Learning new ways to cope with stress is always a great support; workshops that emphasize mindful awareness, such as Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction workshops are also very valuable. The professional support is out there!”
What last advice would you like to leave someone who wants to overcome emotional eating?
“Treat yourself with compassion and kindness as you take small and steady steps to overcome emotional eating. Ask for support, work with a professional you trust, and stay on the path. You can learn healthier ways to express your emotions, cope with stressors, while also enjoying a balanced relationship with food.”
Thank you Lori for doing the interview on how to overcome emotional eating. If you would like more information on Lori Boothroyd check out her website on www.loriboothroyd.com.
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