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 Diabetes Prevention - Emotional Eating

It's no secret that poor eating can lead to obesity, adult onset diabetes & heart disease. Why then is it so difficult to get a handle on eating issues? Dissecting disorderly eating needs good detective work. Time after time, my research in weight & addictions management uncovers a multifaceted problem, including an interesting form of denial that is connected to a positive force.

Meet Lynn-Ellen, a high profile television writer, who attended one of my workshops. Her food & beverage intake assessment made it easy to know why she was overweight & I was surprised that she didn't seem to know this. When I suggested some changes she became incredibly angry & went into a tirade about how stress filled her days were & if this was the way, she certainly would have done it by now.

Lynn-Ellen is an emotional eater & will need a very different approach in order to be successful at losing weight & staying away from diabetes. For the emotional eater, the idea of changing one's eating habits can be very frightening & even simple changes can be met with procrastination devices.

The level of creativity & emotional states enlisted to protect the self from even beginning to change can be quite something to observe. Food related thoughts play out in the VCR of the mind throughout the day & especially when stress is high or when involved in triggering situations such as shopping, restaurants, social occasions and the workplace.

Certain emotions have higher trigger value than others depending on the individual. Some emotional eaters trigger when home alone or in the middle of the night, even keeping food hidden under the bed to avoid bringing attention to a cupboard raid. Others eat in cars, hiding wrappings under the seat until they can dispose of them safely. Some binge going home from work, a good time to release work stress before entering home-based stress.

Compulsions can be intensely draining, attacking the emotional eater with real physical and/or emotional pain. How does one begin to take control of such a complex situation & stay motivated long enough to build new habits?

In my experience, I like to take the emotional eater into a nutritional self discipline & work forward from there. It helps to know that practicing poor nutrition is not a small thing. It's akin to digging a big dangerous hole while teetering on the edge. For most of us, there is no time to waste. The following steps are etched into the mind & traced over & over again.

The Physical Component

Lynn-Ellen needs to get to know herself & what her body needs. Each of us was born with genetic tendencies towards all sorts of things, including certain diseases.

Genetics are wonderful wake-up tools because they guide us towards knowing what our body & mind needs in order to stay well over the course of our lifetime. Ignoring genetics is asking for trouble.

The body & mind have specific needs in relation to food & beverage, as well as timings for having these. The body is a machine that needs to be taken care of in a very specific way. If this is ignored the mind will be headed for trouble as well. Everything is about getting this right.

The Emotional Component

Managing disorderly eating means being willing to look at many aspects of our personality, including the lessons of our early mentors, including parents, family members, siblings, teachers, friends & whoever handed us our belief system. Whether we are addicted or not, part of what ails us can be found in these lessons.

Once we are willing to identify these & not shy away, we can learn to release them or at least part of them. Lynn-Ellen, like many of us, didn't get the self nurturing she needed as a child, or even later in life. Perhaps she weren't allowed to express her emotions in a healthy manner. Maybe she didn't learn to self-regulate or to set healthy boundaries for her self.

When these tools of self-management are not sufficiently developed or missing entirely, one tends to go to excess to manage the unresolved stress. Going to excess over & over again, etches the habit into the subconscious mind where it is ready answer to any stress chemical production.. It can certainly be frightening to be without one's habit when stress appears.

The Higher Self Component

Each of us has a Higher Self. This part is mature, balanced & knowing. This part does not hide from the truth, no matter how painful. It embraces it, getting to know it intimately. The Higher Self understands that facing reality is the way to freedom from emotional eating. Connecting frequently through the practice of Interactive Self-Hypnosis or specially designed inner work allows one to self examine & to manage the surrounding emotions.

Lynn-Ellen is learning that managing her emotional eating is a journey in self discovery & can be the catalyst for change throughout a good portion of her life.


Elizabeth Bohorquez, RN is a Clinical Medical Hypnotist, President & Program Designer, Sarasota Medical & Sports Hypnosis Institute located in Sarasota, FL & online at &

She specializes in teaching self-hypnosis for health, disease management, habit control, self-improvement & sports enhancement. Her sites are interactive & educational, offering +350 CD programs for adults, kids, executives & athletes.

She is the author of "Sugar...The Hidden Eating Disorder & How to Get Free".




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