Most big problems start small, whether that’s on a global scale or in our daily lives. If we notice the first signs of an issue, it is much easier to get to the root of the problem and solve it, than when it has escalated into a huge problem. The same is true with eating disorders. Once we get to major issues such as bulimia, anorexia or body morphic disorder, we usually need to involve a whole range of specialists to get back on track. If we had noticed the initial signs that we were developing any of these disorders, we would have been much more likely to prevent the behaviour turning into anything more serious.
There are different unhealthy eating habits that can get us into trouble. Some are compulsive behaviour, some of them are mere habits we fall into or we pick up from others. Let’s have a look at some of these behaviours in detail.
Cravings are temporary strong urges. These urges are often for foods that aren’t particularly good for us. The most common cravings are for high sugar or high carb foods. Giving into cravings will provide a short term feeling of satisfaction or happiness, but soon thereafter a feeling of guilt will set in that we have, yet again, given in.
Food addictions (and there is debate as to whether you can be addicted to a food), on the other hand, are more long term. It might have started with cravings, but now we are constantly wanting these types of foods. Chocolate is a common culprit, but pizza, chips or other junk food can also feature on the food addiction list. The sign of food addiction is often that the food is eaten in secret, either alone in the car or late at night and in large quantities. Other unhealthy “addictions” can be for fizzy drinks for example.
Another dangerous habit is comfort eating. This means that any emotional issues are relieved with food. We get sad, we eat. We get angry, we eat. Or we are frustrated, we eat. And it’s usually not parsnips or broccoli we turn to, but high calorie, high sugar foods, usually highly processed, and therefore bad for us. Some of the hormones which are increased at times of stress, increase our appetite for this unhealthy food. It’s all about control. We don’t seem to have control over our lives, so we try to control our feelings with food.
Junk food junkies
Junk food is not healthy, we all agree on that – it’s in the name. Having the odd burger and fries is, of course, not going to hurt anyone. But if all we ever eat, is fast food of any kind we are heading for trouble. It might be convenient in the short term but eating only junk food can wreak havoc with our health. And we’re basically putting ourselves on an extremely limited diet. Even though we’re overindulging on calories (and carbs) we are starving ourselves of many vital nutrients and becoming malnourished in the process.
What if you’re generally eating healthily but supplementing each meal with fizzy drinks? This can be just as bad. You’re adding truckloads of sugar to your system – did you know that one glass of coca cola or sprite contain 8 and 6 teaspoons of sugar respectively? You would never put that much in a cup of tea or coffee! Don’t think, however, that sugar free is any better for you. You’re adding nasty chemicals to your body who trick your system into thinking it is getting a lot of calories by providing sweet flavour. As there are no calories in sugar free fizzy drinks, the body then craves more food instead to get hold of these promised calories.
Obsessive label reading or calorie counting
On the opposite end of the spectrum, it’s still all about control. People who obsessively control every bite they eat are very much in danger of slipping into serious eating disorders. They think they control what they do, but their obsession can start to control them.
How hypnotherapy can help before these issues turn into severe eating disorders
The only way out of any of these more or less obsessive behaviours is to realise that they are exactly that, obsessive behaviours and tackle them by getting to the root of the problem.
One of the best ways to do that is through hypnotherapy. A lot of obsessive behaviours and early eating disorders are driven by our subconscious. We are aware we are behaving this way, but we don’t really know why. Hypnotherapy can get to the root of the problem because it addresses the subconscious. It opens the dialogue between the conscious and the subconscious.
The sooner we get help for any of these issues before they get completely out of hand, the better. That way, we can regain control of our lives and use food to nourish our bodies instead of covering up emotional issues.
I am Samantha Culshaw-Robinson, a clinical hypnotherapist and I have been helping people deal with obsessive behaviours around food since 2010. Have a look at what clients are saying. If you would like a complimentary introductory session, please get in touch via email firstname.lastname@example.org or via phone 075 222 777 22.
If you would like to book in for a session, please fill in your contact details on my consultation page.
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