Some children are quick to accept a bottle of milk, cookies, or crackers as a replacement for physical touch and emotional nurturing when parents are unable to provide them with such care. When a child receives food instead of emotional nurturing, it is quite probable that such a child will make poor food choices in the future. The process of “I need emotional nurturing = I get physical food” leaves them unable to tell the difference between normal emotions, such as anger, sadness or loneliness, and the desire to eat from a very early stage. And thus it happens that food becomes the replacement for emotional nurturing for some children as they learn to feel physical hunger in place of emotional need. When these children grow up, their most intimate friendships are with chocolates, cookies, ice cream, pizza, etc. which eases feelings of loneliness and/or reduces shame or anger.
In these cases, diets fail – and with failure comes shame, for which another sweet treat is needed to ease the discomfort. And so it goes, on and on.
Now there are other variations to this emotional relation to food, but you get the idea. Here is a relevant study that addresses the importance of emotions in food choices:
Pictures Of Hot Fudge Sundaes Arouse: Understanding Emotions Improves Our Food Choices
Sep. 19, 2008
Menus and advertising affect our emotions, and if we understand those emotions, we make better food choices, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.
Authors Blair Kidwell, David M. Hardesty, and Terry L. Childers (all University of Kentucky) examined the “emotional intelligence” of consumers, including obese people. They found that people who made the healthiest choices had high correlations between their emotional intelligence and confidence in their emotional intelligence—what the authors call “emotional calibration.”
“When perusing a restaurant menu, many consumers may not be aware of the subtle implicit feelings of arousal elicited by visually appealing presentations of unhealthy food choices,” the authors write. Faced with choices between healthy and unhealthy food options, individuals who are confident that they can appropriately interpret and employ their emotions, but who do not actually possess these emotional abilities, are likely to make low-quality decisions.”
In the first of two studies, the authors measured emotional ability, confidence, and nutritional knowledge. They asked participants to plan meals from a menu with a wide range of options—some healthier than others. They found that people with emotional miscalibration chose foods higher in calories, even more so than people with low levels of nutritional knowledge.
In the second study, obese individuals conducted an online survey. The researchers found that among obese people, emotional miscalibration leaves them susceptible to impulsive eating triggered by vivid pictures of food.
These results may be helpful in finding ways to help overeaters regain control. Since emotional calibration can reduce obese people’s impulsive eating, encouraging emotional calibration may be useful in improving these consumers’ food choices and overall health
“Specifically, we have found that possessing greater ability (for both low and high confidence groups) is necessary and fundamental to better decisions. However, we find that consumers must also possess sufficient levels of heightened confidence to capitalize on those abilities,” the authors conclude.
In addition, it is important to remember that yeast infections are at the base of most food cravings, to the point that if you get cured of yeast/candida overgrowth, you’ll cured yourself of unhealthy food cravings. Also serotonin imbalances can make you crave carbs and re-balancing your serotonin levels often takes care of those cravings. You can take that to the bank. Make sure you’re winning the war against candida overgrowth and chemical imbalances, and you’ll find that suddenly your emotions are more calibrated!
I leave you with a quote from a book that puts the emotional information in perspective:
“If a double cheeseburger and fries are the only things that stand between a self and the experience of deprivation, isolation and loneliness, imagine the feelings of emptiness when those nurturing objects are withheld. It is no wonder that food is hidden, cherished and frequently becomes the focal point of life for thousands of individuals whose true self was neglected in the earliest stages of life.” […] Compulsive behaviors are rooted from feelings of intense cravings for nurturing, affection and personal power. Under the surface of compulsive behavior exists an anxious discarded child crying out in loneliness, isolation, helplessness, fear and anger. Compulsive behaviors represent the child’s attempt at survival, security, satisfaction, identity and safety. […]The compulsions become a replacement for nurturing, expression of feelings, self-control, self-worth or security. Compulsive behaviors represent the paradox of both an overwhelming desire for connectedness and true intimacy and an overwhelming fear of intimacy. [Compulsive behavior] reflect an effort to claim a sense of self, as well as to serve as protection against feeling the helplessness and unresolved grief of lifelong unmet needs and tremendous neglect to the true self.” -Jane Middelton Moz.
Children of Trauma by Jane Middelton Moz.Share