My Luton and Dunstable Counselling for Overeating practice is available 7 days a week, at times to suit your busy schedule. Please do call anytime to organise a one to one assessment. In the mean time I have provided a little bit of back ground information to help you understand the problem in closer detail. Experts estimate that 75 percent of overeating is caused by “emotional” or “comfort” eating. Obesity is one of the foremost problems in western society, and it brings a wide range of health risks with it.
Unfortunately, simply exercising or controlling your intake of food doesn’t really tackle the issue, because it is generally rooted in your emotions. In a sense, overeating is like an addiction, surfacing in times of emotional distress regardless of whether or not you are hungry. As a psychological issue, structured counselling is the most effective way to break the cycle of emotional eating.
Overeating is a primarily emotional phenomenon. One of the most important “reward” neurotransmitters used by the brain is dopamine, and it’s released in response to vital things like food. It creates a short-term contentedness, and therefore spurs on emotional eating by relieving feelings of depression and anxiety. There are a variety of illicit drugs that produce the same effects, but food is often the subject of this short-term stress relief because it’s so accessible and often features in early childhood experiences. These experiences are the main focus for a therapist, because they are the real causes of emotional overeating.
There are a variety of ways in which a parent can foster overeating in their child. The problem is that they are neither intentional nor immediately obvious, so there is little that can be done to prevent them. For example, if a child in a family dominated by parental stress gets to go for a meal as a reward, the food then becomes associated with the positive feelings that really come from the contented time together as a family. The behaviour can also be learned from a parent directly, for example, a mother who indulges in sugar-laden desserts during periods of sadness or one who drinks heavily in response to stress. The counsellor will endeavour to identify these associations which underlie overeating.
Identifying the triggers for overeating is one of the most important steps for psychotherapy. These could be emotional, situational, social, physical or thought-related. Emotional triggers are things like stress and anxiety, and thought-related ones are usually driven by low-self esteem. An opportunity to eat (passing a restaurant) is a situational cue, and others’ eating and offering food is a social one. Physical triggers include hunger and the desire to reduce pain. The best way to identify these issues is to keep a food diary, making note of each eating episode and the emotions and situations that accompanied it. This is an important part of most therapy for overeating.
After these triggers have been identified, the therapist has to help the individual work through their issues. The emotional and personal problems which contribute to overeating often have roots in childhood, and may take some time to confront and properly deal with. The counsellor has to help the individual tackle these issues head-on, and only when the damaging associations have been broken down will they be truly capable of controlling their eating. Therapy often involves the teaching of new coping mechanisms to replace the harmful, old habits.
If you or your loved one is having problems with overeating, we can help you determine whether you need help. The majority of overeating comes from a psychological cause, and counselling is absolutely required to overcome it. Obesity carries significant health risks, and the cycle of overeating, weight gain, decreased self-worth and more eating is vicious, persistent and damaging. Psychotherapy addresses the real root causes and empowers you to take control of your own life. If you need any advice on your problem, or have any questions about treatment, we’re here to help you. Our advice is confidential, safe and secure, so call our overeating counselling service in Luton and Dunstable.!
For more information about our costs for overeating counselling services please see the about us page.