Addictive Eating: Are You Powerless Over Food?

After working with thousands of the emotional eaters, Ive been able to decode the secret of overeating and break it down to reveal some basic truths. The holidays of winter often bring to mind the image of a full tableand a full stomach. We gather with friends and family and feast merrily on pies and potatoes, turkey and ham and all of the fixings that many of us dearly enjoy.

There is another side to that pretty picture, however.

What if our extra consumption of calories during the winter is fueled not by good cheer and companionship, but by anxiety? And, further, what if its not the gathering of loved ones that we most look forward to, but the food that we cant get out of our minds?

Also, while we may welcome gatherings with friends and family, they do bring with them extra stress and preparation. Add to the mix the anxiety caused by a sputtering economy, and many of us might find ourselves reaching for comfort food.

An anxiety-provoked behavior, such as overeating, is an attempt to cope with that anxiety, but as with most such behaviors, it can become a problem itself. Overeating can become a compulsion and lead to health issues such as diabetes and obesity.

This is not to say that you should reflexively turn down that second piece of pumpkin pie, but if you were dreaming of that pie for days, and if, in fact, you care more about that pie than the people around you, then you may have a problem that needs attention.

According to Overeaters Anonymous, here are a few other common markers of compulsive eating:

1. Do you eat when youre not hungry?

2. Do you go on eating binges for no apparent reason?

3. Do you have feelings of guilt and remorse after overeating?

4. Do you look forward with pleasure and anticipation to the time when you can eat alone?

5. Is your weight affecting the way you live your life?

6. Do you resent others telling you to use a little willpower to stop overeating?

7. Despite evidence to the contrary, have you continued to assert that you can diet on your own whenever you wish?

8. Do you eat to escape from the worries or trouble?

9. Does your eating behavior make you or others unhappy?

If you think that you might be overeating compulsively, it is possible to recover. Help is available through the 12-Step programs Overeaters Anonymous and Food Addicts Anonymous, as well as a therapist or counselor.

With the help and support of others, you can uncover the reasons behind your compulsive eating, find other strategies for coping with anxiety and get on a food program that can sustain and, even, restore your health.

While you may still have those dreams about that second piece of pumpkin pie, you can also live a happy, healthy and fulfilling life without it.



How Did Humans Become Empathic?


Empathy is unusual in the animal kingdom. So empathy must have had some major survival benefits for it to have evolved. What might those benefits have been?

Empathy seems to have evolved in three major steps. First, among vertebrates, birds and mammals developed ways of rearing their young, plus forms of pair bonding sometimes for life. This is very different from the pattern among fish and reptile species, most of which make their way in life alone. Pair bonding and rearing of young organisms increased their survival and was consequently selected for, driving the development of new mental capacities.

As neuroscientists put it, the computational requirements of tuning into the signals of newborn little creatures, and of operating as a couple a sparrow couple, a mountain lion couple, that is helped drive the enlargement of the brain over millions of years. As we all know, when you are in a relationship with someone and especially if you are raising family together theres a lot you have to take into account, negotiate, arrange, anticipate, etc. No wonder brains got bigger.

Second, building on initial jump in brain size, among primate species, the larger and more complex the social group, the bigger the brain. (And the key word here is social, since group size alone doesnt create a big brain; if it did, cattle would be geniuses.) In other words, the computational requirements of dealing with lots of individuals the alliances, the adversaries, all the politics! in a baboon or ape band also pushed the evolution of the brain.

Third, living in small bands in harsh conditions in Africa, and breeding mainly within their own band, our hominid and early human ancestors were under intense evolutionary pressures to develop strong teamwork as a band while they competed fiercely and often lethally with other bands for scarce resources. Hominids starting making stone tools about 2.5 million years ago, and during the 100,000 generations since, the brain has tripled in size; much of that new neural volume is used for interpersonal capacities such as empathy, language, cooperative planning, altruism, parent-child attachment, social cognition, and the construction of the personal self in relationships.

Homo sapiens means clever ape. We are clever to be sure, but we are clever in order to relate. It would be perhaps more accurate to call our species Homo sociabilis, sociable ape.

Sociability, and the empathy at the heart of it, drove evolution in a fundamental sense, it is empathy that has enabled this blog to be posted by me and read by you.

Empathy is in our bones. For example, infants will cry at the tape-recorded sound of other infants crying but not at recording of their own cries. And speaking of crying, as adults, our tear glands will automatically start producing tears when we hear the crying of others, even if we have no sense of tearing up ourselves.

Perhaps an even better name for ourselves would be Homo empathicus.


Does marriage counseling work?


'Does marriage counseling work or not', is a very natural reaction to when the someone thinks of opting for marriage counseling. This is because they know nothing about it. To solve this question about 'marriage counseling - does it work', it would help if couples know a few things and are clear about the situation before they seek professional help. These are some of the things that they need to know:

Being Realistic

Being realistic about your relationship is the first step in a seeking marriage counseling advice. It is important to understand the situation and face the fact that marriage counseling may be a good step to make the marriage work. At the same time, do not go with the idea that marriage counseling is a magic pill.

Where is the Love?

Answer this question truthfully. Are you still in love? If yes, then 'Does marriage counseling work' will be a question that will be answered fairly early on. If a couple is in love then making changes and accommodating the other becomes easier.

Open to Change

A marriage counselor will probably ask you to do certain exercises or will want to you to change certain things so that the marriage will be smoother. She will make you aware of how and what is causing conflicts and how to deal with it. This will involve changing. Marriage counseling will definitely work for those who are willing to change, are open to new ideas and experimentation to see that the marriage works.

Mature and Non-Sexist

The Marriage counseling is seen to work for those who are mature and non-sexist. Being non-sexist leads to a block in a marriage counseling because you divide gender specific roles to the other. Harboring feelings like 'Counseling is for women' or 'He should take the responsibility because he is a man', is not going to get you anywhere near saving your marriage and you'll be forced to probe and keep questioning 'Does marriage counseling work'.

Age Matters

The marriage counseling seems to work more for people who are young. This is because younger people do not have the set ideas. It is said that as the people age, they become more and more set in their ways and find it difficult to change and accommodate or compromise and are most likely to be faced with the question 'Does marriage counseling work'. Getting past the question 'Does marriage counseling work', is very difficult for people who have waited for too long to seek counseling and help. They have managed to accumulate more baggage and problems for themselves. The marriage counselors from all over, suggest that when you start facing problems in your marriage and seeking outside help seems to be the only solution left, then do it as quickly as possible and not entangle yourself in the question of 'Does marriage counseling work'. Salvaging a marriage is best done early on and marriage-counseling cost is a small price to pay for a matter so sensitive.


Weight Loss with NLP


NLP can be useful for people struggling to lose weight. Whilst NLP is by no means a magic diet pill, it can be very useful in addressing the issues associated with over-eating such as confidence, self-esteem, motivation and negative coping strategies.

1. NLP Communication Model This model underlies any change work in NLP and a good therapist will explain this model to you. It is very important as it tells us how people use language in specific patterns, during thinking. Depending on the nature of the way you talk to yourself when thinking, you could be undermining the efforts you make to eat healthily and be slim. The NLP communication model can help you to begin to be much more aware of the language you use during thinking, in order that you can develop positive thinking habits. Since how you think has a massive effect on how you feel, it also effects how you behave. Change your thinking patterns and you will get different behavioural results. In the case of the weight loss, this can be a change in your eating or exercise habits.

2. NLP Presuppositions These are a set of convenient beliefs which if you subscribe to them, can lead to you feeling much more empowered. For example, one of the presuppositions is that all behaviour has a positive intention. This does not mean that everything a person does it morally good or good for society. It means that each person, only always carry out behaviours that are positive for them in some way, i.e. meet some higher human need. So, if you feel frustrated at yourself for overeating when you feel you really shouldnt, its time to begin to think about what needs you meet through food. Only, then can you acknowledge that you have been doing the best with the resources available to you at the time and begin to plan how to meet the need met by food in a more positive way.

3. NLP Formal Change Techniques There are several formal change techniques, which are useful for helping with weight-loss. Here are a few: 1) The Swish Technique can be used if you wish to replace a highly contextualised problem behaviour with a more positive behaviour. It works to eliminate behaviours that occur in specific situations after specific triggers. 2) Parts Integration is very useful at uncovering the positive intention of your unhelpful eating habits and dealing with incongruent behaviour and feelings. 3) Like To Dislike This technique is based on information about how we code memories in our brain. We tend to code things we like in a different way to things we dont like. 4) Hypnosis with positive suggestion many NLP therapists will have studied hypnotic techniques based on the Ericksonian.

These are just a few of the ways that NLP can help you develop the new options in thinking and behaviour. I have found these techniques effective during NLP, Herts at my NLP practice, Herts, when supporting clients in losing weight.



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