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I will never give up
i found this article on one of the other forums and thought id post it here as not sure about anyone else but im certainly anemotional eater and thought it was very interesting.

Emotional Eating 101 (Part 1 of 4)
by Roger Gould, M.D.
This is the first of several articles on the subject of emotional eating. Over the next couple weeks, we are going to explore emotional eating, how it leads to obesity, why it should be considered a real addiction, and the strategies that work and don't work in dealing with the addiction.

Emotional Eating
If you are like most people, you are keenly aware that diet programs don't work for long. It's safe to say that no new diet or exercise regimen, no matter how biologically sound it may be, is likely to result in lifelong weight loss. But why is that? It's because you can't control what you eat.

The bottom line is that you already know how to lose weight. You know that if you eat less and exercise more eventually you'll see the pounds come off. But if you know that eating less and exercising more will result in weight loss, why don't you just do it? What's getting in your way? Or, if you do succeed in losing a little weight with a diet, why do you usually regain the weight you lost? Why can't you hold onto healthier habits as a way of life? Why do you overeat despite your best intentions?

The answer to all these questions is the same: emotional eating. Most simply defined, emotional eating means you eat to satisfy emotional hunger; it means you use food for comfort or as a way to cope with life; and it means you eat for reasons other than what your body needs.

Take any moment in time, focus the camera lens on your neighborhood, take a close look, and you'll find emotional eating. You'll find dozens of people—maybe even hundreds or thousands—breaking their diets at this very second. All those people woke up this morning determined to stay away from fattening treats or eat reasonable portions, but by afternoon, many had one hand on the Twix Bar and the other on the forehead, wondering why, why on earth they had no willpower. In fact, you are probably one of those people. Maybe boredom at work has propelled you to the snack table, or a snub from a friend or an ugly new assignment. Whenever you reach for a boredom-breaking snack despite your commitment, or whenever you eat to quell anxiety, that's emotional eating. Whenever you binge after a fight, or double up on portions because your day turned sour, that's emotional eating. Whenever you feel that sharp craving for your favorite food, that's emotional eating.

When it comes to emotional eating, people aren't eating to feed their body. No one needs a candy bar after a fight to make it through the night. When people eat at times like these, they are eating to satisfy, numb, or avoid their emotions. And unfortunately, it's all too common.
People who are suffering from emotional eating are driven to eat so they won't have to face what's bothering them internally. And in many ways, they become addicted to this way of handling life. They feel compelled to eat in this way and can't control what they eat. That's why diets don't work. If you're struggling with emotional eating and can't choose to eat less and exercise more, you can't lose weight. It's that simple. And since no diet ever teaches you how to control what you eat, they are doomed to fail sooner or later. In other words, unless you can learn to stop emotional eating, you will never be able to lose weight and keep it off. Period.

Emotional Hunger
Emotional hunger is what fuels emotional eating. Unfortunately, you will always have emotional hunger no matter what you do. That's part of being human. However, emotional hunger is not so much the problem as how you deal with it.

People who suffer from emotional eating usually only deal with emotional hunger by eating. And, since life is rife with emotional turmoil, emotional eaters are normally overweight. They are so attached to dealing with the ups and downs of life with food that any suggestion that they can stop emotional eating makes them nervous. Many people cannot imagine being able to handle a bad day without turning to food for comfort. In this way, the tendency to handle emotional hunger with food is no different then a smoker's tendency to handle stress with a cigarette.

When you are an emotional eater, the odd thing about emotional hunger is that you feel truly hungry, and at the moment when the craving for food grips you, you can't tell that your hunger originates in your mind, not in your belly. People who are not emotional eaters, who never really satisfied emotional hunger with food, usually eat less when they are troubled by emotional hunger. Their emotional hunger doesn't feel like physical hunger, just as a non-smoker's stress doesn't give them the urge to smoke.

I like to think of it this way: emotional eaters eat when they aren't really hungry because they have two stomachs—one real, the other a phantom. The hunger in your belly signals you when your system has a biological requirement for food. If that was the only signal of hunger you received, you'd be thin. It's the phantom stomach that causes the problems. The phantom stomach sends out a hunger signal when unruly emotions and unsolved personal agendas start pushing themselves into awareness. A short-circuit occurs, and you feel so hungry that you're compelled to eat.

I see the power of the phantom stomach demonstrated almost daily in my work with patients. The other day, a patient who had just finished breakfast told me in the middle of a difficult session that she suddenly felt extremely hungry. As soon as we started talking about her sexual problems with her husband, her appetite kicked in and she could hardly wait to get to McDonald's. Her phantom stomach was shouting, demanding action.

Phantom hunger has such power that it drives you to go to almost any lengths to satisfy it. I saw this fact demonstrated in Technicolor when I consulted at the Pritikin Institute in Santa Monica, California, where clients paid ten thousand dollars a month to take part in a controlled diet and exercise program. Although the tuition for the program far exceeded the cost of attending the most expensive private university in America, I frequently found participants sneaking out for hamburgers and french fries at a corner stand. These were all highly motivated people sent to Pritikin by their doctors because of serious, life-threatening health problems, but positive motivation clearly wasn't enough to help them resist phantom hunger. As you know, all dieting programs depend on positive motivation, ignoring the obvious: that there's such power in the emotional forces underlying the desire to binge or overeat that if you don't expose those forces and conquer them, you'll always be at their mercy—you'll always have weight problems.

In a later article, we will discuss the 12 types of emotional hunger that I have identified, but for now, let's point out the main differences between emotional hunger and physical hunger so you can begin to differentiate between the two in your daily life.
First, emotional hunger normally comes on like lightening, while physical hunger develops slowly. Emotional hunger is like a rocket going off: it happens suddenly. Physical hunger develops little by little: first there's the tummy rumble, then the grumble and then it really starts complaining with hunger pangs. But, the slow stages of physical hunger are very different from the quick onset of emotional hunger.

Second, emotional hunger demands food immediately, whereas physical hunger is bit more patient. Much like its quick onset, emotional hunger demands immediate satisfaction. On the other hand, even if you are ravenously hungry, your physical hunger will wait for food.

The third difference between the two involves mindfulness. Satisfying physical hunger involves a deliberate choice and awareness of what's being eaten. How much of what's being eaten is noticed, meaning you can stop when full. However, emotional hunger on the other hand usually doesn't notice how, why or what's being eaten. Emotional hunger will even demand more food even after the person is stuffed.
Fourth, physical hunger is open to different types of foods, but emotional hunger often demands very particular foods in order to be fulfilled. If you're physically hungry, even carrots will look delicious. If you're emotionally hungry, however, only cake or ice cream might seem appealing.

Fifth, satisfying emotional hunger often results in guilt, or promises to do better next time. This is in sharp contrast with physical hunger, which is viewed as necessary to survival and therefore has no guilt attached to it.

And sixth, emotional hunger, of course, results from something emotionally upsetting, while physical hunger results from a physical need.

Whenever you feel compelled to eat in a way that doesn't match the patience or speed of physical hunger you are struggling with emotional eating and hunger.
Now that you've read this article and thought about it a little, it's time for you to personally evaluate how it applies to your life. Below are some questions and activities that you should answer and do before the next article becomes available. Taking these questions and activities seriously will help you get a better understanding of emotional eating.
  1. How hard is it for you to see emotional eating in your life? Is it very visible? If so, describe the instances you've got in mind. Do you think instances like this are the main obstacle to you losing weight? If it's not so visible, why do you think you have trouble eating less and exercising more?
  2. Do you have trouble differentiating between emotional hunger and physical hunger? Describe a time when you may have mistaken emotional hunger for physical hunger. What was happening at the time to make you emotionally hungry? Why didn't you deal with it directly, instead of using food?
  3. Until Part 2 of this series becomes available, examine your hunger whenever it arises. Try to use the six distinctions we laid out as a guide. Do you feel emotionally hungry more often than physically hungry? Do you always give into the emotional hunger or do you sometimes find another way to satisfy it without food?
Roger Gould, M.D., the creator of Mastering Food, is commonly recognized as a pioneer and expert in the field of adult development. He developed a revolutionary, interactive approach to therapy, which has been studied by UCLA and tested on over 20,000 people. The latest study, conducted by UCLA and Kaiser Permanante, found that each of Dr. Gould's Guided Sessions are about as effective as traditional in-person therapy. According to Psychology Today, "Dr. Gould's program is the only online therapy program of its kind that is based on proven research results."
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