Not much help for emotional over-eating

Misunderstanding, lack of help and stigma affect people with emotional over-eating issues  a survey by Beat – the UK’s leading eating disorder charity – has found.

Over 1,000 people across the UK responded to the survey and the findings were significant.

  • 88 per cent said their problems with food were related to emotional problems.
  • 73 per cent who visited their GP said their emotional health wasn’t investigated.
  • 92 per cent said they’d like to lose weight.
  • 76 per cent  felt their self esteem was low.
  • 85 per cent had a negative body image of themselves

Two thirds of the population in England alone are overweight or obese and in the last 25 years there has been a 400 per cent increase in obesity. This has led to predictions that half of Britons will be obese by the year 2050. Also see Losing Weight.

 

What is emotional eating?

Emotional eating is a new term coined to emphasise that eating too much doesn’t happen by accident. Behind most large people are a range of negative emotions – self-disgust, loathing, wretchedness, feelings of rejection, feeling unloved and ugly, and a sense of despair.

Dr Andrew Hill Professor of Medical Psychology at Leeds University said ‘Emotions, mainly negative emotions, play a major role in unwanted and uncontrolled eating.  Unhelpful relationships between food, eating, and mood can be long-standing and very difficult to change.  They are also very difficult to talk to others about.  For some people, recognising the interplay between food and feelings is an important first step.  Others require more specialist psychological support.

‘Lifting the stigma of mental health is one of the challenges for our time.  Understanding the role of food and eating in emotional health is part of this challenge, as is making opportunities for access to the varieties of helpful support available.”

Find out more at www.b-eat.co.uk

The root of the problem

Frequently the issues with food start in childhood and let’s face it most parents use some ploys to get their children to eat – who hasn’t been guilty of rewarding their kids with chocolate when they do something good? The kind of behaviour that can result in emotional issues around food are:

• Parents using food as a punishment
• Parents using food as a reward
• Disharmony at the dinner table between children and adults or parents
• Emotional difficulties in childhood concerning divorce or parents, death of someone close, bullying and much more
• Being told to eat up everything because of the starving people in Africa

‘Comments about feeding the starving people in Africa or India are completely irrelevant because the food we leave won’t get to them, but it can do immense harm,’ says Bar Hewlett, a Cognitive Behaviour Therapist with Lighter Life.

‘I liken food to other addictions like alcohol, but people don’t often recognise this. Some people say that they need a cigarette or a drink to make them better but with the exception of chocolate they don’t always say it about food.

‘With emotional eating the rational you has gone and you eat things that you may not even want instead of something healthy. It hasn’t got anything to do with hunger.

‘Parents often manipulate their children – “You’ll eat it if you love me. I’ve spent a lot of time preparing this food. What a good boy/girl – you’ve cleared your plate” And some mothers give a lot of food to their children to make up for the love they are unable to offer. Consequently the child learns if they want love from their parent they will have to put up with food so they transfer their feelings on to the food.

‘When someone is ill they often tell you what they want to eat – it’s usually what their mother gave them when they were sick as it brings them comfort. Similarly when people are unhappy they go back to the food they liked as a child – sweets, chocolate or whatever it may be.

Cognitive behaviour therapy

Cognitive behaviour therapy is offered as part of a diet plan with Lighter Life. Bar explains, ‘We get people to keep a thought diary and to recognise how they are feeling and relate it to their behaviour. This gives them a chance to make their thoughts more realistic and alter their behaviour too. Instead of eating the whole box of chocolates they can just have two today and two tomorrow.’

Hypnotherapy

There are various ways of changing behaviour patterns and if someone is put into a hypnotic state of deep relaxation they are able to accept and respond to suggestions. ‘It is as if they are on autopilot,’ explains hypnotherapist Jose Penrose.

Jose helps people with weight problems at her Surrey clinic. ‘My sessions last an hour and we spend 20 to 40 minutes discussing the issues around the person’s weight problem.’ Once she has gathered all the facts she puts them under hypnosis to help them to change their behaviour – be it bingeing or snacking all the time.

‘I usually ask them what has motivated them to lose weight, what their goal weight or dress size is, and how life would be different if they achieve their goal.

‘Many people’s weight is bound up with their self-esteem, particularly if they are yo-yo dieting and never achieving any lasting weight loss. Often they think, “People don’t fancy me so why bother?”

‘I saw a woman who had been abused by her father when she was a child. She felt this was at the root of the problem. A few weeks after she had had hypnosis she was at peace with herself and much happier and she had lost a stone in weight.’

*Survey from Lighter Life Magazine

BEAT charity,  www.b-eat.co.uk

Contact Carole Gaskell, at the Lifecoaching Company, 01628 488990, www.lifecoaching-company.co.uk

Lighter Life weight loss programme includes cognitive behaviour therapy and replacement meals, 08700 664747, www.lighterlife.co.uk

Jose Penrose is a hypnotherapist, counsellor and life coach in Surrey: 01483 769058, www.mindtochange.co.uk

General Hypnotherapy Register, Lymington, Hampshire, 01590 683770, www.general-hypnotherapy-register.com

Tricia Woolfrey, hypnotherapist, 01932 354746, www.pw-hypnotherapy.co.uk

The Lean Team provides interactive health coaching for people who want to lose weight: www.theleanteam.co.uk

Losing weight

Losing weight is never easy. First of all you have to be in the right state of mind and determined that you want to succeed, and secondly you have to identify what you should and should not be eating.

Most health experts agree that eating healthy foods such as fruit, vegetables, wholegrains, pulses, fish, chicken and seeds and nuts, while drinking plenty of water enables you to adopt a diet that is sustainable and filling but enables you to lose weight. This also means cutting out coffee, tea, colas and alcohol, sugar, and saturated fats.

 The 21st Century Epidemic

Currently 24 million adults are overweight, and predictions are that half of the population will be clinically obese by the year 2030. The government is particularly concerned because obesity is one of the main risk factors for cancer, heart disease and diabetes.

A recent survey claims that the so-called ‘hourglass’ figure will no longer exist as waist sizes for women which currently average 34 inches are going to go up to 42 inches in 50 years’ time if we keep getting bigger. The research was commissioned by the magazine Prima which found that women’s waists are now 7 inches larger than their grandmothers were! According to the Daily Express the 1950’s woman had a waist of 27.5 in and now it is 34 in. So no longer the 36, 24, 36 that was considered so desirable, with busts now at 39 in as opposed to 37 in and women an inch taller now at 5ft 4in on average.

People who are classed as obese have a body weight of over 30 BMI (body mass index), while anyone of 25-30 BMI is considered to be overweight.

Body mass index is obtained by dividing a person’s body weight in kilos by their height in metres squared (times itself) For example, you might be 1.6m (5ft 3in) tall and weigh 65kg (10st). The calculation would then be: 24.8 BMI – just below the overweight bracket!

  • There has been a 25 per cent increase in the number of overweight and obese children since 1995;
  • Almost 17 per cent of children are now estimated to be obese;
  • It is 50 per cent more prevalent in boys and 80 per cent in girls from the lowest social groups;
  • Presumably the prevalence among girls is because teenage girls tend not to play sport, whereas many of their male counterparts do;
  • Exercise is a big factor in keeping people slim and healthy.

Unfortunately highlighting the issue can make obese people feel as if they are being persecuted. There are so many reasons why someone becomes overweight and it may be better viewed as an addiction, like alcohol or drugs, to be treated with compassion.

Emotional factors:

‘It’s like shedding the layers of an onion getting to the real cause behind obesity,’ according to counsellor, Bar Hewlett. There could be any number of factors that lead people to have mixed feelings about food including:

  • Conflict at the dinner table as a child;
  • Dysfunctional families and sibling rivalry;
  • Discipline based around food – ‘you’ll go without your tea for that!’
  • A need for attention seeking;
  • Self-loathing

The result can be one of two extremes – obesity or anorexia. It’s too trite to blame obesity on overeating – the question is why do some people need to eat more than others? Some people feel that when things go wrong in their lives their way of gaining control is to eat.

Addressing the emotions that make people want to eat is the best way to lose weight. See Emotional Eating.

Healthy Soul advocates healthy eating, exercise and addressing emotional issues where weight is a continuous and serious problem for you.

Organic Weight Management Plan

Viridian has launched an Organic Weight Management Plan that consists of four food supplements to encourage your body to lose weight. This isn’t some faddy new ‘miracle’ diet but a sensible balance of nutrients to help stabilise blood sugar levels and metabolism, regulate gut flora, restore the correct balance of acid/alkalinity so that the body is not too acidic, and help to safely detoxify leading to loss of weight. It consists of:

• Organic Green Tea in capsule form
• Organic Soulfood Greens
• Organic Mineral Complex
• Organic Nopal

Green Tea has a number of properties that help in weight loss – it increases metabolism, thereby increasing core temperature, which burns more calories. It also is high in antioxidants and has been shown to increase the detoxification of enzymes.

Organic Soulfood Greens consists of Spirulina, wheatgrass, barleygrass, alfafa leaf, wild wrack, seaweed and chlorella which provide a huge array of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, essential fatty acids and antioxidants to raise energy levels, restore normal acid/alkaline levels in the body and help to detoxify.

Organic Mineral Complex contains over 80 essential trace and macro minerals together with nettle and horsetail herbs which help to eliminate excess fluid.

Organic Nopal comes from natural dehydrated leaves of the prickly pear cactus, which is very high in nutrients and fibre. The high fibre content increases its own volume in the stomach making you feel full up and as it digests slowly it regulates glucose in the body, stabilising blood sugar levels. It also reduces fat absorption, regulates gut flora which improves digestion, and can have a diuretic effect, reducing fluid from the body.

The Organic Weight Management Plan from Viridian, includes 90 veg caps of each of the above with a daily dose of three of each at each meal time, and a 24 page informative booklet on losing weight. It costs £65.00 from Nutricentre.

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Organic Weight Management Plan Viridian Nutrition Organic Nopal, Organic Soulfood Greens, Organic Green Tea, Organic Mineral Complex x 90 each £65.00
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Cider vinegar

It could be described as a panacea for all ills as cider vinegar can help you lose weight, treat and prevent arthritis and calm your digestive system.

Cider vinegar is an age-old remedy that really works for a variety of health problems. It is particularly recognised for soothing arthritis by changing the acid environment of the body. Like many acidic foods (such as citrus fruits) cider vinegar is alkaline in the body. Arthritis thrives in an acidic body, although citrus fruits are not good for arthritis.

It’s also good for the digestion, improving irritable bowel and constipation, can help to soothe bladder infections, headaches, migraine, and sore throats,and keep blood pressure at a healthy level. Because it’s not a medicine it is worth trying it to see if it works, but if problems are long-standing it won’t miraculously go away in a few days. So persist with the cider vinegar before meals for over four weeks before deciding it doesn’t work.

Cider vinegar is cheap (around £3 a bottle for organic), easy to take and available in the supermarket.

Margaret Hills was an expert on cider vinegar. When she was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis at a very young age, and later on with osteoarthritis, she found that taking cider vinegar changed her life and made arthritis-free.

She opened the Margaret Hills Clinic, now run in Warwickshire by her daughter, Christine Horner, and she wrote several books about it. People can have face to face or telephone consultations for £65.

‘It is good for anything and I never go on holiday without my cider vinegar decanted into a plastic bottle. It helps to prevent upset stomachs on holiday, eases sore throats, and can be put directly onto sunburn or stings.’

Cider vinegar contains powerful enzymes that help digestion and the following minerals: potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, organic sodium, copper, iron, sulphur, cholorine, fluorine, silicon and other trace minerals, as well as malic acid which can fight body toxins. constipation, irritable bowel and indigestion), preventing and easing arthritis, bladder infections, headaches and migraines, sore throats, lowering blood pressure and keeping you slim.

Christine recommends that patients take a dessertspoonful of cider vinegar in a third to half a pint of water before meals three times a day, preferably mixed with honey. ‘The honey has plenty of health benefits too and it makes it more palatable. Never take it neat because it will upset your stomach.’ She also warns people who are on Warfarin to avoid any radical change of diet such as cider vinegar.

Contact: Margaret Hills Clinic,  www.margarethillsclinic.com, 01926 854783

Cider Vinegar, by Margaret Hills, and Natural Ways to Treat Arthritis are published by Sheldon Press and are available from Nutricentre or Amazon – click on the ads.

It could be described as a panacea for all ills as cider vinegar can help you lose weight, treat and prevent arthritis and calm your digestive system.

Cider vinegar is an age-old remedy that really works for a variety of health problems. It is particularly recognised for soothing arthritis by changing the acid environment of the body. Like many acidic foods (such as citrus fruits) cider vinegar is alkaline in the body. Arthritis thrives in an acidic body, although citrus fruits are not good for arthritis.

It’s also good for the digestion, improving irritable bowel and constipation, can help to soothe bladder infections, headaches, migraine, and sore throats,and keep blood pressure at a healthy level. Because it’s not a medicine it is worth trying it to see if it works, but if problems are long-standing it won’t miraculously go away in a few days. So persist with the cider vinegar before meals for over four weeks before deciding it doesn’t work.

Cider vinegar is cheap (around £3 a bottle for organic), easy to take and available in the supermarket.

Margaret Hills was an expert on cider vinegar. When she was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis at a very young age, and later on with osteoarthritis, she found that taking cider vinegar changed her life and made arthritis-free.

She opened the Margaret Hills Clinic, now run in Warwickshire by her daughter, Christine Horner, and she wrote several books about it. People can have face to face or telephone consultations for £65.

‘It is good for anything and I never go on holiday without my cider vinegar decanted into a plastic bottle. It helps to prevent upset stomachs on holiday, eases sore throats, and can be put directly onto sunburn or stings.’

Cider vinegar contains powerful enzymes that help digestion and the following minerals: potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, organic sodium, copper, iron, sulphur, cholorine, fluorine, silicon and other trace minerals, as well as malic acid which can fight body toxins. constipation, irritable bowel and indigestion), preventing and easing arthritis, bladder infections, headaches and migraines, sore throats, lowering blood pressure and keeping you slim.

Christine recommends that patients take a dessertspoonful of cider vinegar in a third to half a pint of water before meals three times a day, preferably mixed with honey. ‘The honey has plenty of health benefits too and it makes it more palatable. Never take it neat because it will upset your stomach.’ She also warns people who are on Warfarin to avoid any radical change of diet such as cider vinegar.

Contact: Margaret Hills Clinic,  www.margarethillsclinic.com, 01926 854783

Cider Vinegar, by Margaret Hills, and Natural Ways to Treat Arthritis are published by Sheldon Press and are available from Nutricentre or Amazon – click on the ads.