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3LMCM 01-14-2014 01:07 PM

Book: "What are You Hungry for?"
Has anyone read any self-help books to help with over-eating? I recently heard about Deepak Chopra's "What are you hungry for?" and I downloaded a sample. It basically explains that our over eating or issues with food come from a need to fill another void in our life. I agree with it with for the most part…
Ideas or thoughts, recommendations? Thanks
. :hug:

kaplods 01-14-2014 02:08 PM

I spent most of my life believing that overeating had psychological roots. I read self help books, I spent years soul-searching, I sought therapy.... I even got my BA and MA in psychology largely to "figure myself out." What was I missing?

Decades later, I was as overweight as ever. Only in the last fifteen yeats or so (after more than 25 years of searching) did I start to consider the possibility that maybe there was absolutely nothing wrong with me except my food environment and the choices I made in it.

It's hard to change habits that have been with you nearly from birth, but I succeeded enough to first stop gaining, and eventually start losing.

The book that really changed my life, convincing me that I truly was not somehow emotionally "broken" was David Kessler's book, The End of Overeating.

I began to see that if I avoided certain types of food, I didn't need willpower to lose weight. And ironically, I discovered that the emotional instability I thought CAUSED me to overweight were actually the RESULT of what I was eating.

I was not eating an excess of carby foods because of my emotions; I was overly emotional because of the excess of carby foods. And not only was the unbalanced diet making me emotionally sick, it was making me physically sick as well.

I'm not saying emotions can't drive hunger, but I do believe that a physiological explanation should be ruled out before assuming an emotional one.

Consider trying a moderately low carb, whole food diet with no (or nearly no) grains, lean proteins, and plenty of veggies and a little fruit. See if it doesn't help physically and mentally. If reducing carbs helps, but doesn't resolve all issues, cut carbs a little more until you find your ideal diet.

If changing WHAT you eat doesn't help, then I think it's reasonable to consider WHY, but I wasted 2/3 of my life asking the wrong question.

EasySpirit 01-14-2014 02:23 PM

My sister and I once went to an OA meeting, where people explained that they were overweight because of a horrible childhood, fear of the opposite sex, a crazy mother, a nasty divorce, to comfort themselves.

When it was my sister's turn, she said, "I ate too much."

3LMCM 01-14-2014 02:35 PM


Originally Posted by kaplods (Post 4919376)
I spent most of my life believing that overeating had psychological roots.

If changing WHAT you eat doesn't help, then I think it's reasonable to consider WHY, but I wasted 2/3 of my life asking the wrong question.

WOW! Now I'm not sure if I want to read the entire book. :shrug:
Thank you for sharing your experience! I see what you mean about the vicious cycle of food and emotional stress. Food has always been an enemy of mine, I just want to know what I need to do to conquer it.

pluckypear 01-14-2014 10:30 PM

Try http://http://marciasirotamd.com/emotional-over-eating

I have found this book very helpful. I do believe overeating can be a food addiction and an unsuccessful attempt at healing wounds.

kaplods 01-14-2014 11:35 PM

I do believe that emotional issues can be a trigger to overeating, I just believe that emotional instability is often used as the scapegoat for something much simpler.

Read the rest of the book, you may find much of it useful, just don't assume that your own personal puzzle resembles those you read about.

I was so convinced by the "emotionally disabled or defective" explanation of weight loss that I spent decades trying to find the defect that didn't exist. Worse still, when I assumed the defect existed, I also found evidence of it. Believing I was crazy, made me crazy.

I used to believe, but now doubt the common assumption that sexual abuse victims gain weight to make themselves ugly. I think it's a rationalization to explain something much simpler:

High carbohydrate foods, epecially when combined with fat and eaten to excess have an almost narcotic-like effects: sedation ( food coma) and brief, but often intense euphoria (that omg flavor experience that earns some foods, the "better than sex" label. Carbohydrates even have pain-relieving properties.

Seeking out carbs for pain relief may be instinctive, or it may be learned, but it's usually not conscious, because most of us have not been taught to see carbohydrates in this light. We don't know why we're drawn to these foods, so we take or make any explanation that sounds reasonable. And once we do so, it can become true, just because we think it is.

Some drugs, like meth and heroine provide such intense euphoria that they can create addiction in a single dose, even in people who have no risk factors for addiction. Emotionally healthy people may be less addiction-prone, but no one is addiction-proof.

The assumption that overweight reflects emotional instability no longer rings true for me, but when I thought it was true, it sure seemed true.

I'm just saying the assumption needs to be challenged.

pluckypear 01-15-2014 08:25 PM

I agree that food can act as a numbing agent, both physiologically and emotionally. I agree that nothing should be assumed and certainly not for everyone.
I do not believe that by accepting food as an addiction in any way characterizes anyone addicted to food as being emotionally instable. And at any rate I do not think struggling with wounds makes anyone weak in anyway and a person who admits, most importantly to themselves, that they have such wounds, is a sign of strength.
For me it was very difficult to admit that food was an addiction and even more difficult to face the reality of having grown up in a dysfunctional family. However difficult facing the truth has been for me my life gets richer everyday from facing this truth. I am very thankful for having found a good therapist to work with.
I often find grains of truth in many books that I read and I try to use those grains to my benefit.

diamondgeog 01-16-2014 01:37 PM

I remember my wife saying I was an 'emotional' eater. I told her no I wasn't at least 95% of the time. I said it was habit, and my being lethargic, and enjoying the tastes, and I was actually hungry all the time not 'making it up'.

Turns out I was right. It wasn't really emotional at all. I was eating a lot of processed food, junk food, carbs that were making me hungry all the time and lethargic, regardless of any emotions or emotional reasons. Went cold turkey cutting the worse stuff out. It worked. Same person, just eating much healthier now and moving a lot more.

Well not exactly the same person, cutting those out and getting thinner really helps brain clarity and mood. Almost as a big change as the rest of the body and perhaps even more.

Of course this is just me. But I think the deep root causes can be over thought. And even if there are a host of reasons there is the behavior approach. Which basically says yes there are these issues. And they are important. But for right now lets just concentrate on new behaviors. Studies have shown this to be as successful or more successful then say 'psychotherapy' for someone shy.

Shawk 01-17-2014 12:24 PM

I must agree with kaplods, at the end of the day, what we eat doesn't just pass though us, it becomes a part of us. so in essence we are what we eat.

putting some thought into what exactly I am eating right now to the very basic level sometimes give me a repulsive feeling. so why then do I still eat it, this can be a good motivation for my will power sometimes

Radiojane 01-17-2014 04:00 PM

There are a lot of good points here, but there are a lot of people who's overeating does stem from something other than physiology. I've read the book and I do think it's valid.

laciemn 01-17-2014 05:23 PM

I think the main problem our society faces is the obsession with speed and convenience. In some ways, we have to be, because most people don't have a lot of time. People do, however, eat when they aren't hungry. Even after all I've done to combat this, I still eat when I'm not hungry sometimes, especially when others are eating.

Emotional eating is extremely common. Most everyone, even people without weight problems, are somewhat guilty of this at some point. Families associate food with love, yes, then at social outings, there is often not much to do together besides drink or eat, depending on what social circle you're in.

It's my feeling that if you can't stop thinking about food, you definitely have an emotional attachment to it. For example, pizza, ice cream, mashed potatoes with steak and gravy, cheesecake--all that stuff, to me, has associated memories. Either family, or friends are associated with those foods. Recognizing that void was central for me. Now that I've gotten involved at my college more, I have more friends and feel connected to others. I don't want to ruin my connections by being obsessed with food.

Emotions are bound to be associated with food because we often eat with those we care about. Although it may feel natural to eat when lonely to trigger those associations, we must realize that it is actually harmful for us to do that, and in no way does it bring us closer to other people, especially if we're eating to the excess secretly or alone.

We should clarify these associations by working through cravings by analyzing our emotions instead of indulging. If you crave pizza, you may reflect upon the friends you once shared with, but then realize that even though that may have been an enjoyable experience, constantly indulging that will inevitably lead to weight gain and all the negative consequences of weight gain. The goal of analyzing our emotional response to food is not to make our response negative, but to be able to see food in a neutral way - the good AND the bad associated with food. High calorie can have a very pleasant association and no consequences, as long as those foods are enjoyed as a treat, but nothing more.

AwShucks 01-17-2014 07:58 PM


Originally Posted by pluckypear (Post 4920512)
I often find grains of truth in many books that I read and I try to use those grains to my benefit.

I agree with Pluckypear. I have found this book helpful - Shrink Yourself: Break Free from Emotional Eating Forever by Dr. Roger Gould. As I was reading, I had several "light bulb" moments of recognizing my own behavior. When you've spent a lifetime eating emotionally, it's kind of mind blowing to realize it! So irrational! Why is food so compelling? (rhetorical question)

Shawk 01-18-2014 07:04 AM


Originally Posted by laciemn (Post 4921992)
I think the main problem our society faces is the obsession with speed and convenience.

Speaking of, whats with the long list of ingredients the stores put in simple things they sell like a pie or a cake. I have baked several times, and 90% of these ingredients I have never heard of, and my cakes taste just as good. I know they cant be good for me yet I do indulge myself to buy one sometimes

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