Are your feelings making you fat?

Dreamstime Stock Photo

Dreamstime Stock Photo

We know that if we feel overwhelmed by our feelings that our eating habits can be affected. We’ve all dived into comfort foods at one time or another and we may have even binged from time to time. That is known as emotional eating. Eating when we are not hungry. Eating for comfort or solace. But what about when we ARE eating healthy AND we are exercising and we still can’t get that needle on the scale to move. Could our feelings be playing a role then?

According to Emily Rosen from the Institute for the Psychology of Eating, the answer is Yes.

Eating and Stress

Stress-induced obesity is nothing new. In research done by the University of California San Francisco in 2009 it was determined that “Stress and emotional brain networks foster eating behaviors that can lead to obesity.”

Even if a person does not indulge in binge eating, the hormones released by the stressors in his or her life are probably causing some emotional eating and enough other disruptions to prevent the body’s metabolism from working optimally. These disruptions can include sleep, the development of visceral fat or the need to snack when not hungry. The following article in Psychology Today gives a more detailed explanation of how that happens. Why we gain weight when we’re stressed and how not to.

Emotional Metabolism

But what about the person who feels she is dealing well with stress and is trying to succeed on a weight loss program but is not getting the results anticipated? Rosen claims that perhaps the answer lies with that person’s Secondary Metabolism, which she calls Emotional Metabolism. This Emotional Metabolism encompasses all of our feelings, not just stress and it’s worth a look.

In our very busy lives we pride ourselves with pushing aside our feelings of stress, frustration, anger, sadness, loss etc. But just because we are able to keep them from manifesting on the surface, it doesn’t mean they are not having an effect internally. Weight gain is one of those effects and all of our feelings may be the trigger.

Here is a 7 minute video of Emily Rosen speaking on Emotional Metabolism.
Check it out here and see if this is something that is working against your weight loss goals.

What is Emotional Metabolism?

For more posts on this topic check out my previous blog post called What’s Eating You?
There is some great info there from the Kripalu Yoga Retreat Center on changing your emotional relationship with food.

“The road to wellness isn’t straight, clear or predictable. It’s a path you forge yourself.”

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