Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Eating is emotional

And that’s a good thing without any shadow of a doubt. It should and has to be and on more than one level too.

One thing eating disorders advocates generally tend not to acknowledge-for mostly political reasons-is that eating is designed to be used as part of our bodies defence mechanism against mental as well as physical health crises If our emotions were divorced from our eating, it would be far worse, rather like if weight loss diets actually worked by that, it would mean they'd be little to stop us becoming anorexic.

Coining the term 'emotional eating'- trying to dissociate emotion from being a healthy and legitimate part of eating and turning it into a problem is a little like turning anti-depressants into a problem- no the real problem is the underlying depression, not what you are taking to enable you to function.

Then there are the emotional responses to satisfying your nutritional urges-I'm including the bodies premiere nutrient ENERGY (like it or not nutriphobes). When you are able to and all things are working well enough, you're likely to feel an uplift in mood, it's not just the physical intake of energy, it has an emotional re-energising effect too, which allows your mood to be elevated.

The element of taking care of business well of doing a good job at taking care of yourself- is sidelined. A healthy balance of moods is made up of some things like this that on their own may not appear much. But knowing that you have developed enough skill to match your needs well, makes you feel both competent and worthwhile, the opposite has the converse effect, the obesity personae that is sold to us convinces that we are incompetent when it comes to taking care of ourselves and furthering our existence. That is one of the things that actually helps to create depression in fat people.

The intake of energy is part of alcohol's overall effect and one of the reasons it is widely used. That (energy) is good in itself, it aids satiety, and digestion possibly as much for the relaxing effects of that pleasure as the sense of completion (achievement) as well as anything else that may be released during that spell of noticeable pleasantness. To turn this into emotional eating =disordered eating/eating disorder, to me is actually dare I say it, morally wrong, because it distances us from how we actually work, but obscures the goodness and wonder of our bodies, which aids our respect and good treatment of them, but creates a sense of mistrust of our bodies and from there ourselves.

It’s a bit like fatness and weight gain are almost always a record of the body seeing off some kinds of threat and/ or guarding against future ones, except in exceptional circumstances when metabolic processes seem to be compromised significantly.

This is what has enabled it to be framed negatively as the manifestation of regret, loss and disappointment, it's a bit like an unlikely charm kind of thing, superstitious. The re-frame could just as easily be, I’ve survived my body has made it, and this is the sign of what it took for me at this particular time in my life. It doesn’t state the seriousness or otherwise of those circumstances anymore than tells you about energy.

The interplay of the responses that lead to fatness or are fatness pass through our genetic mazes same as any basic metabolic tendencies. Eating is emotional and we should be wary of allowing some to determine this as "bad" anymore than being human, because it is our design.

We have the opportunity to embrace it and use it, that shouldn’t be lost to turning it into phobia.

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