Chapter 5 – Alternative Therapies for Emotional Overeating
Emotional overeating can make a person feel imprisoned – it can seem like there is no way out of the cycle of feeling sad, angry, anxious and so forth, and then eating to alleviate the emotional pain. There are treatments that are available, though – some of them conventional and some of them alternative.
Conventional therapy, surgery, and medication have all been utilized at one time or another for the treatment of emotional overeating. There are, however, some alternative therapies that are worth exploring. Here are some of them.
Because emotional overeating begins in the mind, hypnosis is said to be effective because it addresses the mind directly with the power of suggestion. Hypnosis is not the mumbo-jumbo stuff of cartoons and swinging pocket watches; it’s a clinical practice and many practitioners have used it with success to treat emotional overeating.
The intent of meditation as a treatment for emotional overeating is to “tune in” to the emotional thought center that is driving your cravings and/or binge eating. Meditation, sometimes taking a form called “mindfulness,” is the opposite of mindLESSness, which is what often happens in emotional overeating. The person
does not really think about what he or she is doing; it’s mindless eating.
It seems like every time you turn around there’s a new herbal supplement promising to help you lose weight. But there are some herbs that can help with the issue of emotional overeating. Here are some of them.
- Hoodia – This much-publicized herb is said to be effective at appetite suppression and boosting energy. Its effects tend to be subtle, and it also has a good safety record.
- Vitex – This hormone-balancing herb for women may help those whose emotional overeating is influenced by hormone fluctuations.
- Ginseng – This ancient herb is said to help sugar cravings and curb the compulsion to overeat in response to one’s emotions.
Both American and Asian ginseng are purported to be equally effective.
Acupuncturists are often asked if acupuncture can help with weight loss. The answer, in general, is yes – but not always. However, the good news is that acupuncture tends to be more successful with treating emotional overeating than just overeating. This may be due to acupuncture’s alleged ability to release endorphins and boost metabolism – making the client feel better emotionally, effectively curtailing the emotional overeating.
As we’ve covered, having the right balance of vitamins and minerals may affect emotional overeating – it’s not too much of a stretch to speculate that nutritional deficiencies could play a part in this kind of overeating. So make sure you’re not eating a lot of artificial, processed, pre-packaged foods; opt for fresh, whole foods as a general rule. It’s also a good idea to take a vitamin and mineral supplement that is formulated for your gender and life situation.
In the next chapter we will look at weight loss surgery and whether it is a viable option in overcoming emotional eating.