As the rate of obesity continues to rise in the United States, much research is being done into not only the causes of it but also ways in which people who turn to food for comfort can better cope with their feelings.
In this Weightless article from Margarita Tartakovsky, common obstacles and tools to overcome obesity are explored. According to Tartakovsky, imperative to overcoming the problem is an understanding of the forces which are holding the eating behavior in place. In doing so, a person can not only figure out how to address the problem, but also find relief from the shame that accompanies all addictive behaviors. From automatic responses and lack of alternative coping skills to unconscious fears and poor cultural reinforcements, the intervention depends upon the cause.
As an example, Tartakovsky sheds light on what to do when poor coping skills are at play. Apart from an awareness of how you handle stress, finding relaxation techniques that work to help deal with your feelings is key.
It’s much easier to interrupt a response, whether it’s pure habit or also expresses a psychological intention, when you have an alternative response to go to. I emphasize the example of using your ED to help you manage difficult emotions because it’s nearly universal as an ED “intention.” This is what’s happening when you’re already half way through a carton of ice cream or planning the next diet before feelings of disappointment, anger, sadness, jealousy, loneliness, or any number of other difficult feelings have a chance to surface or overwhelm you. You may need to work on developing relaxation techniques or habits of self–soothing.
Read more about relaxation techniques to help combat obesity here.