Roger Gould, M.D.  

Specialties: Mental Health, Wellness, emotional eating

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When you hurt too much, you eat too much

May 25, 2010 - 3 comments



binge eating


emotional eating


control emotional eating


eat too much

I have described in the last several blogs how rebellion, self doubt, marriage, guilt, and perfectionism can cause you to overeat and or binge. I have said it before, ANY life frustration can be the trigger that makes you eat too much. And what makes you eat too much one day will be different than what makes you eat too much on another day. This can be disappointing if you are hoping to find and fix that ONE trigger that explains it all.

But if you look closer at yourself there IS something that ties it all together. It is not out there where things happen to you. It is inside you. The common denominator is the way YOUR mind and body responds to the frustrating triggers of a complex life.

On bad eating days, those days when you have an overwhelming desire to binge or eat too much, you are really "hurting too much" and you don’t believe you can bear the pain. It's not the source of the problem that makes you overeat, its the pain you feel when you think about what's bothering you.

Read more about this blog at www.shrinkyourself.com/blog_item.asp?i=-158

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by DeeJaye45, May 25, 2010
This si so true, just like any addiction. Overeating in response to "life's overwhelming pains" cause me to want to escape just like I used to want to to with my pills. This is now another thing to del with. I still have to face the pain I was covering up. I can't just now cover it up with food or I'm just substituting one thing for another.

And the frustrating thing is that the thing causing me to want to escape can sometimes be POSITIVE.

Until I learn to face the feelings something will always get in the way.

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by Jaquta, May 25, 2010
I guess it's nice to hear that the eating is due to the hurting.  (In a weird sort of way.)
For me that almost feels as though it gives me permission to feel hurt.  To sit with it instead of denying it or avoiding it.

I like the idea of being able to start each moment afresh without all the baggage from the previous moment or previous day.

I had given up on incremental changes but I can see that they are as important as ever.

I definitely feel like someone sitting in the cockpit of a plane with all the emergency lights and sirens going off and the plane veering wildly out of control.

I thought I had identified some potential emotional disasters but I can see now it was more about trusting myself and having confidence in my ability to deal with any situation.  Thank you for showing me that.

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by Jaybay, May 27, 2010
My problem is the opposite.  Any major dent in my day and I can't eat.  I have problems with food anyway with a bad case of bowel adhesions, so I'm constantly partially obstructed.  But when I'm mentally unhappy, depressed, whatever - what little appetite I have is gone.  I've endured a major flood and the illness and loss of my mother in the past year.  That easily cost me 10 pounds I could ill afford to lose.  On a "good gut" day, even something like soup gets stuck and either takes an age to choke down or comes right back up.  I'm pretty sure my body reacts to stress with esophageal spasms, which doesn't help matters either.

I do agree that any kind of eating problem whether over eating or under eating has a basis in mental health.  For many people I know, food is a comfort every bit as pleasurable as a warm blanket.  Of course, that feeling is very temporary so they go for more food.  A family member of mine is like that and she just had gastric bypass surgery.  She lied to the surgeon about cheating on the 3-week liquid pre-op diet, and far worse, she lied to him about having severe Crohn's disease.  She's only 2 days post-op and already having problems, and finally admitted to the Crohn's disease.  The surgeon would never have done the procedure had he known.  With her terribly low self-esteem, chronic depression and weak willpower around food, I'm terrified she's going to overindulge and blow the anastamosis.  The so-called mandatory psychological exam before surgery was a joke.  "Have you had surgery before?"  "Yes."  "Any fears about this one?"  "No."  Ok.  You pass.

Like so many people, the idea that eating behavior can be treated by mental health professional is repulsive and insulting. "I'm not crazy!" is the typical response followed by an angry refusal to even try one session, or God forbid, medication.  Now my relative has jeopardized her very life with surgery when what she really needs is a psychiatrist.  

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