Trostpflaster macht Kummerspeck │ emotionales Essen

Emotional Eating and Weight Gain

Emotional eating and weight gain – which causes and connections are relevant when it comes to emotional eating? Many personal trainer colleagues are familiar with working with overweight individuals and their resolutions to finally lose weight. While aiming for a weight loss of 10-20 kg can be considered somewhat commonplace, severe cases with a BMI of over 40 are rarer and often very specific. Severe obesity is typically accompanied by an eating disorder that cannot be addressed solely through physical training and dietary modifications.

A large portion of clients who aim to lose a substantial amount of weight are surprised when I tell them at the beginning of training that we need to address the problem behind the problem. Mental training and targeting individual-specific issues then become essential components of the weight loss training concept. Losing weight means recognising food as an incorrect consolation tool, removing this, and finding other ways to close wounds.

Who can’t recall how comforting it was to be a child being taken into someone’s arms and gently caressed after a fall? Providing relief by blowing on the “wound” or putting spit on it and considering it resolved, is viewed critically by dermatologists due to the pathogens that can enter the wound.

On the other hand, psychologists attribute a positive effect to these “healing rituals.” Providing attention, mindfulness, and care to a wound alleviates some of the pain. While such a “consolation bandaid” may not protect the wound from contamination, it still receives initial care and attention.

Mindfulness – wounds require attention

Treatment instils confidence, which contributes to and supports the healing process. We learn this form of healing, and continue it in adulthood, ie. treating scrapes and cuts through mindful and repeated dabbing, applying ointments, or bandaging. What would happen to such wounds if we covered them with a 10-meter-long bandage and never removed it? Would the wound ultimately heal?

Wounds don’t heal under a thick and ultimate ‘consolation bandaid’

No, because ultimately, a lack of attention, care, and neglect foster decay rather than a healing process beneath the surface. External wounds do not require one final covering, but rather regular mindful attention. Now, what about invisible inner psychological-emotional wounds? Here, many individual’s learned toolkit for healing is often significantly reduced or misdirected, especially when the ‘consolation bandaid’ is inadequate.

Wounds stay in hiding, ongoing inflammation continues causing distress, and, if left untreated, those wounds may inflict pain for many years or even decades after the initial injury. Medications provide limited relief, as they may alleviate initial symptoms but are largely ineffective in halting the condition’s chronification. This approach fails to address the underlying cause at its root.

Compensatory eating is comforting, but doesn’t help the wound

Shifting or sidestepping to alternative ‘remedies and aids,’ such as food, aims to subconsciously compensate for a healing process that can only actually begin by being aware of and localising the wound’s true source. Humans must eat to sustain the marvel that is the human body. That’s all well and good. However, what happens when food is reduced to mere sustenance, misused as a ‘pill’ to alleviate pain?

Emotional overeating leads not only to weight gain, but also to illnesses

These effects often manifest externally in the form of belly fat, which serves as a wall intended to protect against further emotional injuries. This wall is constructed from what’s known as “emotional weight gain,” which for many individuals has grown considerably, bringing with it numerous health-compromising side effects.

When chocolate served as consolation for both physical and emotional wounds or as a reward for special achievements in childhood, this could later lead to compensatory behaviours, eating disorders, and obesity. Unfortunately, attempting to satisfy “emotional hunger” with a self-declared “Happy Meal” does not work.

Symptoms and causes don’t usually appear in the same place

Whether with the ‘broken heart syndrome’, horror thought chains, or a constantly irritating gut feeling, because some ‘fat toad’ can’t seem to get digested properly: filling the stomach to the brim in order to turn an emotional void into fulfilment works about as well as wanting to repair a car’s broken software by putting enough gas in the tank. The metaphorical descriptions for discomfort could be continued with the assortment of ‘under the weather’, having had it ‘until here’ AND????

The term ‘psychosomatic’ doesn’t negate the existence of actual symptoms, it means those symptoms show up in body parts that aren’t the actual origin of the affliction. ‘Emotional weight gain’ is created in the heart and the soul, and can therefore not be treated with stomach stapling or colon cleansing. The question: did you feed your stomach again, even though your heart is the hungry one, specifically addresses this issue. Many obese people aren’t depressed because they’re obese, they’re obese because they’re depressed.

Deinstalling the wrong programme is crucial

An important distinction, which only few obese people are aware of. By not deinstalling the inadequately programmed autopilot, many risk not achieving successful and sustainable weight-loss.

Whether frustration, grief, anger, stress, existential angst or a broken heart cause excessive and undifferentiated eating, they stay feelings of worry and sadness, not physical hunger. Someone who’s emotionally hungry will not feel internally satisfied, always merely ‘full’, even after the XXL pizza, crisps, or the chocolate bar. For actual relief, it’s necessary to install a new program of thought and behaviour.

Did you feed your stomach again, even though your heart is the hungry one?

Mind control doesn’t mean repressing thought impulses with restrictions and abstinence, but rather replacing a thought with another, fully feeling uncomfortable feelings, and handling them differently. That comes down to practice, until these automatisms consolidate and turn into preferred long-term behaviour. Additionally, it’s important to sever the ties between specific situations in life and respective food habits.

The habit of consuming crisps, beer, or chocolate when watching TV is one of such classics. Wanting to soothe stressful days at work with chocolate bars only works subjectively, and won’t actually reduce stress. While the gut grows, the stress remains.

Alternative stress reduction combined with mind control is helpful

Breathing exercises, short meditations, or a quick walk in the fresh are are much more effective. The sudden confrontation with olfactory stimuli that one might encounter out and about are more difficult to deal with, because they’re so unpredictable. It’s very common for bakeries to be placed right in front of supermarkets or hardware stores, so that the smell of freshly baked goods can properly arouse impulses to buy and consume. Here, too, it’s helpful to be aware of these tactics and the own preconditioning, and to ask oneself: What do I really need right now?

Wounds that started on the outside and then affected the inside can only be healed by starting on the inside, before addressing the outside. They need to see the light of day (not necessarily the light of the public), require air, warmth, affection, yes: love, in order to heal. As all this can be an ‘open heart surgery’, it’s important for everyone looking for help to have an empathic, experienced trainer, coach, or therapist by their side to encourage them to pursue healthier and better behaviour. For us trainers, this means not only looking for the newest nutritional trends, exercises or methods, but to continuously educate ourselves on mental training, communication, and on working with people.

soulboxer 🥊🙏❤️