Food addiction

You: „I am an emotional eater.“
Your Weight Loss Coach: „There is no such thing as an emotional eater.“
You: „I am not calling myself an emotional eater anymore.“

Maybe you have been in a situation like that. I couldn’t agree less with that coach. There definitely is such a thing as an emotional eater. But emotional eater is a euphemism for something painful. We would never call an alcoholic an emotional drinker or an heroin addict an emotional heroin consumer. An emotional eater is a food addict. 

Food has the potential to make us feel good the moment we consume it. And there are plenty of studies out there that prove sugar activates the same dopamine transmitters in the same way cocaine does. Dr. Mark Hyman just had a post on his instagram saying: „But here’s the thing: it’s an actual physical addiction and the food industry strives to get us hooked on sugar. It’s not about willpower, it’s about biochemistry.“

Here is the other thing: „We shouldn’t separate the body from the mind and the individual from the environment.“, says Dr. Gabor Maté. 

I believe as soon as someone has to struggle with food addiction, my job as a nutritionist is no longer asked. I can teach people a healthy diet. My work focuses entirely on the body. But I am aware that overweight can also be caused by food addiction. And Dr. Gabor Maté says the cause for any addiction is emotional pain. 

If you are on a weight loss journey, you must ask yourself if you ever felt emotional pain. You need to talk to friends, family and if necessary to a specialist. It’s possible to heal from emotional pain. 

I have no training in how to deal with emotional pain or trauma but I will give you two links for two videos, so you could start your healing process somewhere: 

The first is with Dr. Gabor Maté:

This video is 10 min long and starts with drug addiction outside the law but he talks about the cause of all addictions towards the end of the video: „So really what is was, is that the addiction came along to help you solve a problem you had no other solution for at the time and that’s the case for all addictions. Why do people engage in addictions? Because they have emotional problems, they don’t have the means to resolve on their own.“ He also speaks about how it’s possible to heal from addiction. 

After the video I started thinking, „emotional eater“ is a way more caring and compassionate way to name an addict. Why don’t we call an alcoholic „an emotional drinker“ and a heroin addict „an emotional heroin consumer“? If you think you are an emotional eater you must answer the question if you ever felt emotional pain and find help with dealing with your answer. You might understand after watching the video that eating to feel comfort is just one mean to solve your emotional pain.

The second video is with Marisa Peer:

I know the title has nothing to do with the topic. But at minute 14:27 she starts a meditation and I find this one so interesting and maybe helpful for you, because it shows you how to connect with your feelings and how to separate yourself from those feelings. It’s just one approach, one possible step to understand the importance of emotional healing. 

With the impact of those two videos, I hope I got the stones rolling for you. I can’t help you to deal with your emotional pain but I understand that as a nutritionist I have to make you aware of that possible cause of overweight. 

Earlier I quoted: „We shouldn’t separate the body from the mind and the individual from the environment.“, by Dr. Gabor Maté. 

I find this very right to approach weight loss. If you want to be successful in losing weight you have to address your body, your mind and your environment.

Body: You need to know how to put a healthy, balanced diet together. Since I focus on the body, I always say overweight is caused by a lack of knowledge, the knowledge about a healthy, balanced diet. I have a video to explain in more detail why a balanced diet is so essential to get the body you want. That teaching is my job.

Mind: You must answer the question, if you ever felt emotional pain and if that’s a cause for your overweight.

Environment: It might be very difficult to lose weight when you live in the US and easier, if you lived in Japan. It’s more difficult to lose weight, if your family is not willing to change their diet and/or if your lifestyle makes it difficult to eat balanced food frequently. But „more difficult“ doesn’t make it impossible.

I see you. It’s not a sign of failure, if you are overweight and you hold it in your hands to lose weight. I hope my words helped you understand the cause a little bit better and you realized it’s actually not that difficult. The different steps are difficult to take but losing weight is not a mystery. You can totally do it!

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