Emotional Eating: Diana

Some of our dieters have been recently dealing with the issue of emotional eating.  Diana in particular has noticed this because she’s coming up to the anniversary of a loved one’s death.  What’s interesting about Diana’s situation is that originally she wasn’t even fully aware that the anniversary was looming; instead she just noticed feeling more emotional and having an intensifying desire to eat to comfort or distract herself. 

During the group today we discussed that dieters need to remind themselves that eating will only serve as a temporary distraction; it won’t solve the problem.  And actually, unplanned eating will only cause dieters to have two problems – the original problem, and now the additional problem of going off plan, feeling weak and out of control, and potentially gaining weight.  Dieters need to squarely ask themselves, “Do I want to have one problem or two?”

It’s also helpful for dieters to remember that there is no direct link between feeling bad and eating.  Naturally thin people, and people who have lost weight and maintained their weight loss, don’t turn to food for comfort. The former often don’t because it doesn’t even occur to them, and maintainers don’t because they know that they simply can’t emotionally eat if they want to keep the weight off; they know that they have to find other ways to find comfort.

We also discussed the notion that negative emotions are a part of life, and that it’s okay to feel badly sometimes.  We live in a feel-good society where many people think that experiencing negative emotions is somehow bad or wrong.   It’s important for dieters to learn that they can tolerate feeling bad and that it’s perfectly normal.

 To deal with this difficult time, Diana is going to try praying more often and drinking soothing hot tea.  She’s going to remind herself that negative emotions are a part of life, and that at the end of the day she’d rather only feel bad about one thing and not two.  As she succinctly put it, “Time does heal you.  Food does not.”

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4 comments

  1. I am assuming that Judith Beck chose to translate the CT methods into everyday language, to make it easier for people to apply?

    But I am wondering.
    Would a useful response to the Impulse to Emotional Eating be to do a standard CBT written Thought Record, like the ones from the book “Mind Over Mood”?
    It seems the processes in the Beck Diet Solution book on page 228-229 are very similar to a Thought Record, but have some differences.

    A difference is “Imagining The Aftermath of Giving In”. That to me almost sounds like Rational-Emotive Imagery? Of course, its a form of Responding to ourselves, or Disputing, I think.

    But I wonder, would it be useful to have a little BDS Acronym of some-type, so when we feel the Impulse to over-eat due to Emotional reasons, we can quickly grab onto that?
    Would’t that be good, to have an acronym we could memorize, that can walk us through the process when we get caught in the moment?

    (for example,from p228)
    MIND-SET
    Label
    Stand Firm
    No Choice
    Aftermath
    Advantages
    BEHAVIORAL
    Distract
    Drink
    Relax

    I can’t see an acronym there. Too bad there couldn’t be one, with the first letter pointing to each step in the process in order…this way, when a person gets hit with an Impulse, they could walk away, sit-down, and go through the process quickly?

    For those of us familiar with the CBT Thought Records, can we just do that? Or perhaps integrate the Beck Diet info into the Thought Record? Are they essentially the same process?

    For example, the thought record Acronym ABCDEF works great for me, I can even just sit down and think it through…it gives a process.

    (I will post below a ficticious example, in the order written, for demonstration purposes).

    A) Craving eating pizza slices.
    C) Starving 95% Sad 85% lonely 80% deprived 98%
    B) (Beliefs-Thoughts)
    -I gotta have these pizza slices.
    -I can’t live my entire life depriving myself of all pleasure
    -I am so hungry, I am going to get dizzy…
    -etc
    D) Distortions-Disputing
    -(Emotional Reasoning) Just because I feel it, doesn’t mean its true. I don’t have to have them.
    -(Exaggerated,All-Or-Nothing) That is over-doing it, there are lots of other ways to have pleasure in life, etc.
    -(Neg Fortune Telling) -will I get dizzy? So what? I won’t pass out, I am not diabetic, etc.

    E) There is no reason that I HAVE to eat these pizza slices now. I ate dinner 2 hrs ago, and have enough food in me. I can eat the occasional slice, but ONLY as part of a meal, not a snack. If I eat this stuff every night, my weight is going to come back, etc. So I choose to NOT eat the pizza slices now. NO CHOICE, etc. (typical Disputing here are like Responses in the Beck Diet, I think)

    F) Starving 20% Sad 20% lonely 10% deprived 10%
    G) Goal: walk away from the pizza shop now!! Move those feet!

    H) How’d it go? ( I walked away, and instead went and bought a banana, and ate that. So that’s good). (Give Yourself Credit?)
    —————

  2. I thought about this a bit more, and I do think that the CBT Thought Record can fit with the BDS steps.

    The Mindset Techniques, are the first steps in the Thought Record.

    -Label Feeling is C
    -Stand Firm is D (Disputing)
    -Don’t Give Choice is more D
    -Imagine Aftermath, could fit with E.
    -Advantages is more of E

    Then, the Behavioral Techniques, perhaps those could go at the end of the Thought Record?
    If we make letter G stand for perhaps…”Get-Up-And-GO!” That would point to doing a Behavior to move forward.

    Like…Distraction Activities, Low-cal drink, Relax,

    So perhaps the Mindset Techniques are equivalent to letters ABCDE. (mostly CDE, AB seem to be implicit).
    And the letter G, could stand for the new Behavioral Goal, or “Get-up-andGo!” or something like that.

    Hope this makes some sense to CT folks!

  3. Moreover, comments about and to thin women are often double edged. Idealized and revered as role models and ideals, they are equally envied and resented. Not true of thin men who are, well, just thin men. A slim woman may be a gem of a person, but may be disliked merely for how she looks. Focusing on women’ s thinness does a disservice to those who are slender and to those who aren’ t by creating stereotypes that damage self- esteem and self- love. They can cause fat women to feel badly about their bodies. …

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