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Decode Emotional Eating_Final

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>> Hi. Great to see you again. In this lecture, we're going to dive a little deeper into the roots of emotional eating. In other words, we're going to explore some of the whys that drive it. First of all, you'll hear this over and over again throughout the course, but here it is again, we all emotionally eat sometimes. Furthermore, we all have valid reasons for doing so. Emotional eating does not exist in a vacuum. Bio-individual, cultural and social factors, personal coping, and difficulty regulating emotions all come into play. Let's start with the bio-individual factors. Bio-individuality is the idea that there's no one-size-fits-all. In fact, you can think of it as one-size-fits-none. Just as you might be one size at one store and another size at another store, there's no universal way to decode emotional eating. Everyone has their own unique roots and habits. This is because, based on personal experiences, influences, and even personalities, food means different things to different people. As Joshua puts it, although no food is inherently bad, certain foods for certain people can become catastrophic. One person might associate chocolate chip cookies with grandma and enjoy a few now and then without a second thought. Another person might associate them with that horrible breakup that led them to scarf down that giant cookie cake at 3:00am and therefore avoid them at all costs for fear of losing control and overdoing it again. As you can see, cookies have very different meanings for different people. So people eat emotionally due to individual experiences and associations with food. I'm sure you can think of many more ways in which bio-individuality plays a role. We want to keep this as bite-sized as possible. No pun intended. So keep thinking about that. We'll return to the concept of bio-individuality as we move through the course. Secondly, cultural norms can also drive emotional eating. Many cultures, especially the American culture, tend to center around a mentality of go, go, go. We're always on, even when we're trying to relax. Power yoga anyone? We want a quick fix to feel and look better, so we try cleanses and diets and hit the gym every single day and multitask 24/7. We jump on cardio machines in a somewhat robotic mode because we really don't want to be at the gym among an army of other hardcore exercisers, but we do it because we feel like we should squeeze it into our day. We eat breakfast on the run and we lunch at our desks because we just can't stop. To illustrate one way that this affects us physically and emotionally, think about the nervous system. We have a sympathetic nervous system which activates the fight-or-flight response. In short, it keeps us alert and it keeps us going so that we can protect ourselves. We also have a parasympathetic nervous system, otherwise known as the system of rest and digest. What do you think happens to these systems in a constant state of go, go, go? Do you think it's helpful? We'll discuss this more later on. For now let's take a brief trip to Europe. Eating in many European countries can be an eye-opener if you've never experienced it before. In Greece, for example, the waiter takes your order, a few minutes later, he comes back with your beverages and a basket of bread, your dishes arrive one at a time and the waiter rarely comes back until he finally catches eye and ask for the check. At that point, he lackadaisically saunters over with one more complimentary item to round out the culinary experience. In Greece, you have time to enjoy the food and to let it settle in enough to see if you're still hungry or not. You'll already feel like you're partially digested by the time you leave. You have your own carafe of water and you get to pour yourself more when you need it. It's fantastic. Then you return to the States and you wonder why you feel so rushed. You eat more quickly and you feel more stressed as you eat because you want to make sure you finish before the next dish arrives. The waiter comes over about 27 times to see how you're doing and to constantly refill your glass. Have you ever been asked how the food is before you even have a chance to try it? Granted they're trying to be courteous, but it can feel annoying, right? How do you think this rushed stress influences eating habits, not to mention digestion? This brings me to the third driver of emotional eating, social connection. Who we are with influences our eating habits. Do you ever eat more or less when in the company of certain people? Do you make different choices at restaurants or buy different foods? I was at a ladies' brunch the other day and I ordered the prefix which included a pastry. Everyone else at the table order a pastry and I didn't want to be the lame super healthy one, so I did the same, even though I didn't even want it. We all do it sometimes. We disconnect from our bodies and minds and make eating decisions based on external factors and the emotions they induce. In my case, fear of disapproval over something as piddly as a pastry. This goes hand in hand with my next point. Emotional eating often serves as a coping mechanism. This probably makes intuitive sense, even if you've never put it in so many words. Emotional eating means using food for purpose other than nourishment or satiation. Food fills a gap or a perceived lack. It's the glue, and it's that big bowl of ice-cream that you eat to unwind. Remember, we also sometimes eat in response to positive emotions. We eat to celebrate and to heighten pleasure and joy through foods that we appreciate. When we eat simply because the food tastes good without guilt or feeling of being totally out of control, this is completely normal. Again, only when we use food as a primary way of coping, consistently and chronically, does it move away from the helpful realm. When it affects quality of life in a harmful way, it's time to reassess. Part of this depends on personality and personal ways of coping. For example, some people eat more when they feel sad and some people eat less. The bottom line is that emotional eating often stems from lack of self-connection, using food to move away or escape from difficult emotions. In turn, we move away from and don't honor our values, our primary food, and our bigger picture mindsets that keep us moving toward health and happiness. As Geneen Roth explains in her book Breaking Free from Emotional Eating, we engage in eating when we want to numb or leave ourselves. Why? Maybe we're adhering to external norms or rules like the rules of a specific diet, the office norm of taking clients out to lunch and indulging in rich foods on a daily basis, or always eating lunch at 12:30pm sharp because that's when everyone else eats. Remember the habit loop we discussed? There are many reasons why we might create emotional eating habit loops. Something triggers us and we respond by eating when we're not hungry or by not eating when we're hungry. We disconnect from our emotions and we disconnect from our hunger. Going back to the cultural drivers of emotional eating, do you usually eat in response to your body's hunger signals or in response to your mind? Do you eat because it's time to eat, because the clock says it's dinner time? Do you eat something because you should? Or do you tune into your body and use it as a guide for hunger and fullness? The holidays are a perfect example of this disconnection. Holidays are a time of abundant food, often food that we don't eat year-round. I don't know about you, but I sometimes make it my personal quest to eat as many cookies as possible during my stay with family due to some irrational fear of missing out if I don't. I eat in response to my mind. The cookies are there and I feel like I'll miss out if I don't take advantage of the opportunity. Better eat as many as I can because what if I can't have them again? Our logical mind often persuades us to eat something now that won't be available later. But the thing is, eating a dozen cookies now isn't going to stop me from craving them next month. We can't stockpile satisfaction. It seems silly when we stop and think about it, but this kind of disconnection happens all the time. Going back to emotional intelligence for a moment, it makes sense that there's a connection between emotional eating and the ability to regulate emotions. If we're unable to regulate our emotions, in other words, if we can't respond in ways that work for us rather than against us, then why not use food as a crutch when emotions get the best of us, right? It's a quick and easy fix. We can self-soothe with food instead of having to deal with the tough stuff on a deeper level. We can eat through our feelings in an attempt to deal with them or we can maintain a sense of control by depriving ourselves. To recap, emotional eating is driven by a variety of factors including bio-individuality or what food and eating means to us based on personal experiences and associations. Cultural norms. For example, the American lifestyle of go, go, go. Social influences. In other words, who we're with when we eat. Personal coping strategies, and the ability to regulate emotions. Finally, one thing that all forms of emotional eating have in common is self-disconnection, disconnection from our bodies, our emotions, and our greater selves. I'm going to end with one more important piece. Sleep. As Arianna Huffington says, "Everything you do, you'll do better with a good night's sleep." That includes building a health promoting relationship with food. Sleep deprivation can contribute to a desire for higher calorie foods. It can also affect metabolism by increasing appetite and the desire for higher carbohydrate and higher sodium foods, in other words, typical junk foods. This suggests that lack of sleep may drive emotional eating rather than eating based on the body's need. So consider this a quick plug for prioritizing those needs. As usual, that was a lot of information packed into a tight space. Take a breath, stretch, and move. And if you remember nothing else from this lecture, remember this, emotional eating is one-size-fits- none. As an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, your role is to guide your clients through their personal journeys as they decode their eating habits. This is a long term yet very rewarding process. Let's end there for now. Think about who in your life you can share this information with, who might be interested in this material. You're doing great. Let this all digest a bit, and I'll see you back here soon.

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Duration: 12 minutes and 12 seconds
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Language: English
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Posted by: integrativenutrition on Aug 30, 2018

Decode Emotional Eating_Final

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