Until my own journey of understanding my emotional eating I have scoffed slabs of chocolate, inhaled fish and chips, not understanding why but kidding myself I ‘loved’ food, and what did it matter? I felt shame and hated my body. I would lose weight on my next diet. Until one day as I scoffed a huge fry up, it came to me that I was eating on grief, the food was literally pushing down my tears. There it was, I was smothering my sorrows with food and becoming fatter and fatter, which for me meant misery , despair and harsh judgement, my own and that of others, being fat made me an easy target for ridicule.
Once I understood that my binge eating was because I was gorging to fill an emotional void and not me actually being physically hungry or a greedy pig, a name that I have heard on more than one occasion. Over the years a language of self hatred and self deprecation developed and hung around for far too long. Through working with Clients and speaking to friends I know that this is far too familiar in our Western ‘civilization’.
Statistics are telling us that obesity is at pandemic levels and the Government are telling us to lose weight and exercise more, but my goodness,unless you have lived on Mars for the last 50+ years, you know this, it’s a winning formula, so why aren’t we all doing it and being super slim and healthy with the perfect BMI? It’s because the emotional reasons of eating more than our body needs are not being addressed ,either by the Government, the medical profession, or most importantly the multi billion pound diet industry. I am aware that General Practitioners are referring their patients to the more popular diet clubs, here they will happily count calories, calculate points, drink shakes,cut out carbs and avoid sugar at all costs. If they are found out to be breaking the rules, their ‘naughty’ behaviour will be discovered at the next humiliating weigh in. At this point the guilt and despair will return and will consequently sabotage the diet.
To entice us in the diet industry continue to change it’s marketing and strategy, we have different ways of counting calories ,of measuring the quantity of food we eat, whatever guise they are using, it feeds into our existing shame around our eating habits and how we see our bodies as not being good enough.
Research shows us that 95% of diets fail , the diet industry is worth billions, yet obesity is at pandemic levels and costing the NHS billions, surely we must now bring a change, the same old formula of eating less and exercising more hasn’t worked and until the emotional reasons for our binge eating are resolved it never will.
We are hearing of investment in Mental Health, lets stop paying lip service to the Government’s rhetoric, let’s start listening to people that want to understand emotional reasons for weight gain and find solutions that will stop the old and familiar patterns of yo-yo dieting. Only with this awareness can sustainable change happen, not with the insertion of a gastric band or yet another diet.
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