Emotional eating is a problem facing many Americans struggling with weight gain. The causes are many — unawareness, boredom, addiction and, chief among causes, stress.
Each of these issues poses a particular challenge. Likewise, each of them has a solution found through acupuncture therapy.
Emotional Eating Caused By…
One of the things our brains are programmed to do is act without thinking. Repetition leads to habits that allow us to live without having to think about every little thing. But this is also a vulnerability. If we’re not thinking then we’re not paying attention to important details like what we’re eating, how much or for how long.
This is different from being unaware because we’re not on autopilot here. We’re making an intentional decision to eat because we want to be entertained. Our brains are bored and are putting our bodies on the hook for it.
The complete opposite of unaware eating is addictive eating. We’ve discussed this before, but it fits here because addiction manipulates our minds into serving a small part of the brain and not our whole selves. We don’t simply go on autopilot here. With addiction, we’re actively pursuing food however, whenever we need a fix.
According to the American Psychological Association, 27% of Americans report eating to manage stress. This is just one figure among many that have been surveyed which show that eating and overeating are common responses to stress. Food may be a pleasant distraction, but it’s not an answer to our lives’ problems.
How Does Acupuncture Help Beat Emotional Eating?
Modern Reflexology has a brilliant article outlining various acupressure points which we also use in acupuncture to help improve focus and concentration. This is a valuable treatment for anyone who finds that eating without purpose is a regular habit. Reclaim your focus and you’ll find that food becomes less interesting. Instead of reaching for a bag of chips, you just might start reaching for your goals.
Boredom is a reaction against inactivity. But rather than going to food to activate your inner body, we should be activating our outer body to raise our energy levels, improve our mood and clarify our motivation. Because acupuncture helps unlock stores of energy that are sometimes lying dormant in our own bodies, we actually have access to a lot of potential we never knew we had!
While acupuncture can stimulate our bodies, it can also restrain them. Acupuncture at the appropriate points in the body can block signals that drive us to addictive behaviors. The National Institutes for Health have already explained how acupuncture can relieve withdrawal symptoms of opiate abuse. It’s the same way with food addiction — an acupuncture practitioner accesses the points of the body that control hunger in order to inhibit addictive eating.
Finally, the big one — acupuncture relieves stress. This article in the Huffington Post is just one example of how scientists have come to realize the effect of acupuncture on stress. Acupuncture stimulates glands to release hormones that help both our minds and bodies feel good, putting us in a relaxed state that helps us better manage stress.
Is emotional eating a persistent problem in your life? Call 305-296-5358 and book an appointment with Dr. Ashley Hoyt. Your free consultation can set you on the path to weight loss.