Overcoming binge eating
It seems to me that most women – and increasing numbers of men – have an unhealthy relationship with food; unhelpful anxiety about their body weight, shape and size; and derive too much of their self-esteem from how slim they look (or more importantly, how slim they think they look). I am happy to help people lose weight, if it's for health reasons and undertaken with a long-term, sensible approach. But I'm really bothered by the intense pressure on women to look skinny and have 'perfect' bodies – which means aspiring to some impossibly taut, skinny, precisely proportioned ideal peddled by advertising agencies and women's glossies.
And it makes me sad that so many people, especially women, feel unhappy most of the time because they don't like the way they look. One consequence of this is the ever-increasing numbers of people with eating problems. One of the most common problems, binge eating disorder, is directly linked to this concern with body image, because many people who binge eat are on some kind of diet, which means they are often hungry and under-fed, so are extremely vulnerable to bingeing when upset. If you have a problem with binge eating, you may also deny yourself 'bad' foods like chocolate, biscuits, cake or ice cream, despite the fact that there's no such thing as a bad food, as long as we eat it in moderation. So when you're lonely, sad, angry, stressed or exhausted, you automatically reach for these forbidden foods (nobody binges on broccoli!).
If you do have a pattern of binge eating, you first need to understand and modify some of the unhelpful thoughts and beliefs you have around food and your weight. You may also have low self-esteem, so need some help feeling better about yourself. And you might need to tackle some of the 'permission-giving' thoughts that tell you a packet of biscuits is your reward after a hard, stressful day. I can help you change these thoughts, using the same cognitive therapy techniques I use with all my clients, whatever issues they want to work on.
If you want to know more about CBT and why it's so effective for both weight problems and eating difficulties, read a book like Overcoming Weight Problems: A Self-Help Guide Using Cognitive-Behavioral Techniques, by Jeremy Gauntlett-Gilbert and Clare Grace; or Overcoming Binge Eating, by Dr Christopher G Fairburn – one of the world's leading experts on eating disorders.
You will also need to stop dieting (which is inextricably linked with binge eating) and develop a healthier approach to eating in general. I work closely with an excellent nutritionist, Jos Swingler, who helps my clients with eating difficulties – contact him through www.bespokenutrition.com if you're interested.
Thanks Debbie - much appreciated. If you follow me on Twitter - @danroberts_1 - you can see when I post something new.
Thanks Debbie, much appreciated.