Bingeing, emotional eating, diet restriction and other mild to moderate eating disorders are very common. I use hypnotherapy and other advanced tools to find the root cause, and solution-oriented behavioural hypnosis to change eating behaviours. My approach is warm, human, and sympathetic. I emphasise self-love and self-forgiveness combined with behavioural steps.
What is emotional eating?
Disordered, emotional or just plain unhappy eating includes:
• food obsession • bingeing / binge eating disorder • food addiction • secret gorging • compulsive overeating • overeating due to depression • over-eating due to feeling worthless • intermittent binge-vomiting and binge / purging (ie mild to moderate symptoms of bulimia nervosa) • extremist dieting and obsession with being thin (in effect, mild to moderate aspects of anorexia nervosa, but where the person is still eating enough and, if a woman, still has periods) • unrealistic body image, and excessive concern with body image • exercise addiction / obsession • obsessional calorie counting • orthorexia (obsession with healthy foods) • spontaneous vomiting • “diet trauma syndrome” (my term for when someone has yo-yo dieted so often they become afraid of eating) • … and up a scale of severity to full-blown eating disorders.
It is entirely possible to heal these feelings and have a happy, relaxed relationship with food and with your body.
To make an appointment, or for more information, just give me a ring. Leave a message and I’ll call you back. I’m happy to answer questions or arrange, in Bristol, a free, no-obligation half-hour initial meeting. My approach is friendly, respectful, and very effective. Please click here for contact information.
What causes emotional eating?
Some chaotic eating, or exercise addiction, has no underlying emotional cause, but is a self-sustaining habit, feeding off the endorphins it produces. More often there is an emotional root and the key is to understand, using hypnotherapy (if needed, inner child regression), what that root is. Sometimes, accompanying changes of life and lifestyle may be needed.
- “Diet trauma” is my term for what happens when someone yo-yo diets and fails, so often that they become almost terrified of food and frantic around losing weight. This can feel hopelessly out of control but typically there are no deep emotions underneath and with simple suggestion hypnosis they easily start to relax and can begin to eat happily again.
- The good feelings released by exercise can set up a self-sustaining behaviour cycle with no emotion underneath – the more you exercise, the better you feel, until you over-exercise and can’t stop. Hypnosis is ideal for gently but firmly interrupting this stuck loop so you get your life back.
- Orthorexia, an obsession with eating healthy food, is often a similar self-sustaining cycle.
In some situations, getting eating under control goes hand in hand with making accompanying life changes, for example discovering the willingness to say “No,” giving your own needs higher priority, or discovering self-respect, among many others. For example:
- Not being “the real me.” A common cause of overeating. Changing the relationship with food must go hand in hand with expressing more the real you.
- Overwhelm. Overwhelm is also commonly associated with overeating; eating can come to somehow seem the only area of life where the person has time and freedom to get pleasure free from the demands of work and family.
- Depression can cause both weight loss and weight gain. Typically you need to start to lift the depression in order to end the emotional eating.
- Binge / vomiting and binge / purging (intermittent or mild to moderate bulimia nervosa) are very common. Sometimes the actual binge-vomiting behaviour can be cured in very few sessions using simple methods, and there are many hypnosis websites advertising this. However there are almost always feeings of conflict, self-criticism and low-self esteem underneath the behaviour which such simple methods cannot possibly heal. (See following item.)
- Diet obsession ie mild anorexia nervosa. This is when thinness becomes an overriding goal in a person’s life, thought they still eat adequate nourishment, and, if a woman, still have periods. The reasons are basically the same as for anorexia – for example, cultural pressures hammering on an inner feeling of inadequacy, self-fulfilling feelings of control and attainment, and hidden family emotions. As with anorexia, a person may not see obsessional dieting as in any way a problem, but may be very proud of how thin they are.
- Need to control or triumph over eating and exercise may reflect a feeling of needing to control or triumph over inner feelings of vulnerability or weakness or needing love which are too painful to acknowledge.
- Low self-esteem, and self-comfort to keep pain or distress buried, in particular feeling worthless.
- Self-hatred directed towards the body.
- Sexual abuse can have as a consequence both the previous types of feeling, and can be a powerful cause of emotional eating.
- Sexual attractiveness. Some men and women overeat because if they are slim, they will have to compete for the attention of the opposite sex, and that scares them.
- Childhood emotions around food, for example from being the child of parents who faced starvation or having a mother who tried to control through food.
- For some children saying “No” to food is almost the only autonomy they are allowed. This can produce and conflict about losing weight: the person reacts to eating less by feeling they are being ordered not to eat, and unconsciously says “No!!!” to the very thing they most need.
- …. and many others. Every person is unique.
Solutions for emotional eating
In my experience, people want to get direct control of their everyday eating, and they also want to heal the root causes. (If any – some problems are just entrenched habit). And they want both of these together, not an either / or approach. This is what my approach is based on: a flexible combination of hypnotherapy and direct behavioural change to help you feel both good in yourself and in charge of your eating.
My approach with emotional eating is warm, human, and sympathetic, with an emphasis on self-love and self-forgiveness. I combine true healing for the emotional roots with direct behavioural change to help you start to bring your everyday eating habits directly under control right from day one.
I use methods including hypnotherapy, hypno-psychotherapy, mindful eating, cognitive-behavioural hypnosis (which means empowering self-talk), discovering the power to choose, and behavioural interventions to dissolve unwanted habits. A key is always for people to take a very gentle, self-forgiving attitude to themselves and their eating.
It is entirely possible to heal distress around eating and have a happy relationship with food and with your body.
For an appointment or more information, please just ring. Leave a message and I’ll call you back. Andrew White 0845-3510604 / 0117-955-0490. I’m happy to answer questions or arrange, in Bristol, a free, no-obligation half-hour initial meeting. My approach is friendly, respectful, and effective.