What is the Relationship Between Fear and Overeating?

By Dr. Patricia Carrington

As long as this human race has been on this planet, famine and shortages of food have caused anxiety to soar within us and drive us to seek food at the expense of our comfort, our sleep, and sometimes even our safety or our lives. Fear is a powerful motivator, so our instinct is to stock up on the food we have inside us – by eating as much of it as we can. Innately, we believe that a well stocked overweight person or animal will survive a famine better.

Therefore, it is little surprise that today, even when we live in countries where food is plentiful, this primordial urge to store up food within our bodies to tide us through danger, can take hold of us when we feel fear. Knowing that we have food, and plenty of it, is a great comfort because it tells us that LIFE is still there, safety can be ours.

In fact, an unfortunate side effect of many diets is the fact that restricting calories signals the body to store fat and slow down metabolism. The body seems to “think” that it is facing famine and so will not readily let go of its stored fat for that reason.

Unfortunately, people who lose weight on a diet almost always gain it back unless they have identified the deep anxieties and conflicts that led them to develop the habit of using food to quell feelings of fear and anxiety in the first place.

Therefore, in order to maintain your diet or eating plan a two-pronged approach is necessary. You need to lessen the fear and anxiety on the one hand, and eliminate your craving for your Downfall Food (a food that is particularly tempting for you and from which you gain comfort) on the other.

A Case of Internal Food Hoarding

Sharon was the youngest of 5 children, all boys except her, and grew up in near poverty. As a child, food was often scarce and her brothers almost always ravaged any that was available, leaving her with little or none at the table. So, whenever she did have an opportunity to eat, she did so vigorously, stuffing as much food into herself as she could bear as fast as possible, fearful that she might not soon have more.

As she grew older, her life became easier, but Sharon had already become a compulsive eater. She tried many different diets, but was never able to keep any lost weight off for any length of time, until, that is, she discovered a simple but powerful stress reduction technique called Meridian Tapping.

Meridian Tapping is a new energy psychology method that can be amazingly helpful in controlling emotional overeating. It is based upon a combination of ancient acupuncture and modern psychology, but does not incorporate the use of needles; you simply tap lightly with your fingertips on designated comfort spots.

 

Sharon began practicing the method and accompanied her Tapping with a

computer game, which is based around meridian tapping, to quickly eliminate her immediate cravings for weight-producing foods, any time.

The habit of using meridian tapping soon brought a new sense of calm and security into Sharon’s life. Before long, her compulsion to overeat had withered away; along with the extra pounds.

 

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