Therapies for Emotional Eating in Southend-on-Sea, Essex

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Emotional Eating

We offer therapies for Emotional eating in Southend-on-Sea, Essex at The Body Matters. Therapy for these is available from our clinic based in Leigh-on-Sea, in Southend-on-Sea, Essex. We also offer telephone & online support.

Eating is, for most people, an enjoyable experience and one that enables us to get the energy and nutrients that we need to do our jobs and live a happy and healthy life. However, humans are creatures of habit, and often, over time, we can develop habits that are less than healthy.

Are your emotions tied to what's on your plate? Emotional eating can be a powerful force, influencing our relationship with food and impacting our overall well-being. At The Body Matters, we are dedicated to helping you understand and conquer emotional eating, guiding you towards a healthier, more balanced life.

What is emotional eating?

Emotional eating is the habit of using food as a response to emotions like stress, sadness, boredom, or anxiety. It refers to using food as a way to cope with or suppress these emotional feelings, rather than to satisfy physical hunger. It can lead to a cycle of overeating and negative feelings, further perpetuating the emotional connection to food.

How can I identify if I'm an emotional eater?

Emotional eating is often characterised by sudden cravings for specific foods, a lack of hunger before eating, a feeling of guilt or shame after eating, and eating to soothe or numb emotions rather than for nourishment.

What triggers emotional eating?

Emotional eating can be triggered by various emotions, stressors, or life events such as work pressure, relationship issues, financial stress, boredom, loneliness, and past traumas. Identifying these triggers is a crucial step in addressing emotional eating.

What are healthy eating habits?

The NHS ‘Eatwell guide’ gives much detail on what a healthy and balanced diet consists of – though even just the word ‘balanced’ gives us a good idea.

This guide suggests that we should:

  • eat at least 5 portions of a variety of fruits and vegetables every day
  • base meals on higher fibre starchy foods like potatoes, bread, rice or pasta
  • have some dairy or dairy alternatives (such as soya drinks)
  • eat some beans, pulses, fish, eggs, meat and other protein
  • choose unsaturated oils and spreads, and eat them in small amounts
  • drink plenty of fluids (at least 6 to 8 glasses a day)

What are unhealthy eating habits?

In addition, there is advice that if we're having foods and drinks that are high in fat, salt and sugar, we should have these less often and in small amounts. We should also choose a variety of different foods from the 5 main food groups to get a wide range of nutrients. Yet habits are powerful and, at times, extraordinarily difficult to overcome. If a habit is a healthy one, this works for us well – but ‘bad’ habits can attach themselves to us as we progress through our lives.

Regarding food and drink, such habits may be particularly problematic because eating and drinking are activities that people enjoy and relish doing. Freud talked about a ‘Pleasure principle’ that leads us to seek pleasure and avoid pain. It is easy to see therefore how a habit of emotional eating/drinking can occur. Eating and drinking can, for a period of time at least, give us satisfaction and lift us when we are not feeling good. Eating, particularly rich foods – in other words, ones high in salt, fat and sugar, may do this particularly well. Yet, health-wise, this can create an unhealthy habit.

Is drinking alcohol unhealthy?

Regarding drinking alcohol, we see a similar situation. Alcohol Change UK has undertaken research recently into the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic on people’s drinking. Whilst 35% of people surveyed report that they are now drinking less than before, 21% say they are drinking more alcohol. Not only are many people able to now drink at home, at times when they would previously have been at work, but there are also additional stresses around finances, employment, isolation, and worrying about the health of friends and relatives – as well as one’s own health of course. If alcohol is available in times of such stress, it is likely, in many cases, to be drunk – and, as for food, this could be the start of a habit – and an unhealthy coping mechanism. The coronavirus pandemic has apparently led to a 22% increase in alcohol sales in the UK compared to the same period in 2019. And, of course, during a global pandemic, behaviours that reduce the effectiveness of our immune systems are not good.

How does emotional eating affect my health?

Emotional eating can lead to weight gain and related health issues, as it often involves consuming high-calorie, low-nutrient foods. It can also create an unhealthy cycle of using food as a temporary emotional relief without addressing the underlying emotional causes.

Where can I get help with emotional eating?

Twenty years ago, only one-in-six households had access to a mobile phone and only 9% of households had access to the internet. Professional therapy can help one to tackle unhealthy habits including emotional eating – and fortunately can now be done easily and effectively online. Whilst, face-to-face therapy may be your preference, until restrictions are relaxed, online therapy has much to offer.

Remote Consultations Available

We continue to use remote consultations to provide our services without physical interaction, if required, by shifting some appointments to video consultations.

Read our Remote Consultations page for more information.

Louise Reader will be using a telephone, Skype or Zoom which offers a secure way to offer online support and advice without having to leave your home. You will need to download Skype or Zoom onto your laptop, phone or tablet. In the case of Zoom, a meeting invite will be sent to invite you to join the meeting where we can have a secure video session.

Jon Gibbs will be using Skype or Vsee, which offer a secure way to offer online support and advice without having to leave your home. You will need to download Skype or Vsee onto your laptop, phone or tablet. A meeting invite will be sent to invite you to link to the meeting where we can have a secure video session.

Make an enquiry View Prices

Call 01702 714968 for more information about therapies for emotional eating in Southend-on-Sea & Leigh-on-Sea in Essex, and find out more about how The Body Matters can help you.

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Opening times

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We are open on weekdays and Saturdays, with early morning and evening appointments available on request. We offer remote consultations to provide our services without physical interaction.

To book an appointment telephone 01702 714968 or click here to send us an email.