If you're struggling with problems that lead you to overeat and you can't seem to control yourself, then talking to a therapist might be a big help. Losing weight may be necessary for your health, but you may constantly sabotage your efforts. That can leave you feeling like a failure and out of control. Here are some ways a therapist might help.
Discover Why You Overeat
Overeating can be a coping mechanism for unpleasant feelings or bad memories. Just like taking drugs and drinking alcohol can be a form of self-medication, so can overeating when it brings you feelings of pleasure and relief from emotional pain. You may need to discuss things that happened in your childhood that caused you to associate food with happiness. Once you know the cause of your pain or trauma, you can learn different coping skills, and give up your unhealthy dependence on food.
Learn How To Handle Your Triggers
When you understand that you eat when you're sad or angry, that helps you stop the behavior before it starts. Your therapist can teach you to recognize the way you feel sadness or anger in your body so when those feelings arise, you can immediately do a substitute activity rather than reach for junk food. This might involve deep breathing exercises, taking a walk, drinking water, or anything else that is easy to implement. If you can stick with the process, you may eventually give up the impulse to turn to food and turn to healthier ways to cope instead.
Improve Your Self-Esteem
You may deliberately sabotage your diet and not consciously realize it. You may punish yourself because you think you've done something wrong or because you don't think you deserve to be happy. A therapist can help you uncover these feelings so you can face them and move on. A therapist has different techniques for helping you overcome an eating problem. Some may involve active listening and guidance as you work your way through your problems. Others may be actual skills you learn and implement to improve your daily life.
Once you have your emotions in balance and are generally more happy with your life, you may find it is easier to stick with your diet and lose weight to become healthier. Seeing a therapist isn't a magic cure, you'll still have to do the emotional work on yourself and struggle with sticking to a diet and exercise plan, but with professional help for support, you may finally succeed when all other efforts to lose weight have failed.
For more information, contact a therapist like Donald McEachran, PHD.