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Psychological Dependence on Overeating

Posted May 15 2010 3:16am

Do you have a psychological dependence on overeating?

Do you use eating too much as your default strategy to cope with problems in your life?

If so, the fact that overeating gives you immediate benefit may mean that overeating is your preferred method of coping. If it is your preferred method of coping, you have a psychological dependence on overeating, with the consequence almost always being you are overweight. 

What if you tried something different? Could you identify those needs of yours that get you to overeat? For example, a need for overeating could be to help you through social situations in which you otherwise would feel uncomfortable. If you can make a list of your needs that lead you to overeat, say 2 or 3 of them, then you can begin to think of the ways you would have to improve to meet these needs (without turning to overeating).

Let's say that you list overeating to get rid of those uncomfortable thoughts and feelings about yourself that you have in social situations. The next step is to come up with a non-overeating (and non-drinking) way to meet these feelings head on.

If you find that your social anxiety is coming mainly from your tendency to think negatively about yourself, it's best to do something directed at your negative thinking. If your social inhibitions are coming from problems that you have with relationships, this might call for changes in your ability to tolerate the closeness of socializing. It could also be that you have to work on sharing yourself more openly with others. Or, it might be that you are on the alert for conflict and tension, which of course, makes you all the more tense and want to avoid socializing.

The principle behind what we've been talking about is getting yourself to cope more directly with what's causing you to overeat. Don't work on overeating. Work on the causes of your overeating. Learn to cope with these causes as directly as you can. This is the key to licking your psychological dependence on overeating.

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