Are you an emotional eater?

Dr Margaret Anderson

Emotional eating or compulsive overeating has become increasingly prominent within society in recent years. Now, as the issue continues to gain prominence, we look to gaining an understanding on the causes of emotional overeating, and how changing core beliefs and attitudes can lead to the healing of emotional issues in life.

Diagnosing the problem…

When it comes to diagnosing emotional eating, there are a number of factors that need to be considered. Firstly, when self-diagnosing, you need to ask yourself a series of related questions, scoring yourself a two for frequently, one for occasionally and zero for never, on a scale a little like this:

QUESTION FREQUENTLY OCCASIONALLY NEVER
I eat for comfort when I’m sad, lonely or have nothing to do
I eat when I’m bored
I eat when I am angry or disappointed
The fridge is my best friend
I eat when I feel anxious or stressed
I eat junk food
There are times when my eating is out of control
I eat when I am tired and need energy
I eat when my friends or children criticise me
I eat even when I am not hungry
I like to celebrate food
At parties I eat to be polite
I feel the need to finish my plate and not waste food
Food makes me relax
Eating is my main enjoyment in life
I am displeased with my weight but I overeat anyway
I crave some foods
I am addicted to chocolate
I just like to have something in my mouth
I eat to suppress sad/bad memories or past events
When I am angry I eat a lot of meat, chewing aggressively
I eat bulky foods such as pasta or rice when I feel lonely
When stressed I eat chips or crackers
When I am sad I like to eat comfort foods such as ice cream…

Now, once you have filled out each individual question you will end up with a total score. If your score is more than 35, it is likely that you have serious emotional over eating, and treatment may be necessary. For those of you who scored between 15 and 35, you may struggle with overrating at times and require improvement.

Factors for Compulsive Overeating:

Overeating can be triggered by a number of factors, these include:

  1. Cultural Pressures – the way in which your family or culture may eat, e.g. your family may be accustomed to purchasing fast food, thus you are expected to conform.
  2. Subconscious Protection – here you may eat as a result of a traumatic event that has occurred in your life. Food may act as a way to take your mind off of an issue such as a breakup or accident.
  3. Immediate Gratification – here you may eat simply because it will make you feel whole. Maybe you like to overindulge a little too often.
  4. Food used as a Tranquiliser – when people become nervous or anxious they may use food as a way to calm nerves or to satisfy their desires.
  5. To obscure the need to face problems – individuals may turn to food rather than face a problem that may have arisen, as an easier way to fulfil their desires.
  6. As a form of punishment – individuals may overeat as a way to punish themselves for a personal wrongdoing.
  7. Eating to relieve depression or stress – eating may act as an anti-depressant to those suffering from emotional anxiety or stress, resulting in weight gain.
  8. Faulty perception of body image – an individual may perceive themselves as overweight or link their body image to that of someone in the media, resulting in an emotional behaviour related to food consumption.
References
Jantz, G.L. (1995). Hope, Help and Healing for eating disorders. Shaw Books
Minirith, Dr. F. (2004) Love Hunger. Thomas Nelson Inc Publishers.

Doctor Margaret Anderson provides personal care and understanding…

Dr Margaret Anderson is your professional and compassionate female surgeon in Adelaide, specialsing in liposuction procedures. Her wealth of knowledge, coupled with her experience in medical care ensures that you will receive a high level of care. Whether you are concerned about your physical appearance, or are looking to gain more information on how you can improve your lifestyle; our friendly, experienced and supportive team are here to make you feel comfortable, guiding you through your decision process.

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Dr Margaret Anderson provides surgical procedures such as tummy tucks, posterior body lifts, inner thigh lifts, upper arm tucks and liposuction to patients who are wishing to alter their appearance.

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