Overcoming the Shame of Emotional Eating
Join our New Emotional Eating Support Group
by Tory Butterworth, PhD
Do you often feel alone when coping with your emotional eating?
Are you feeling sick and tired of doing this on your own?
Doesn’t a supportive, understanding group of women sound great?
Build your understanding of shame through social group connections.
Shame is a difficult emotion to identify. It may take the form for feeling stupid, feeling like a failure, feeling inadequate or just plain feeling like a bad person.
People overcoming addictions, including various types of disordered eating patterns, anxiety difficulties, and depression often experience strong shame. With regard to patterns of overeating, shame is both a cause and effect.
People often don’t understand why they eat their feelings. They don’t understand why this daily part of their lives makes them so anxious, so angry, so crazed. They can’t fathom why other people are able to eat healthy and they can’t. For many people who eat their feelings, it feels like a curse.
Because they don’t understand, they feel embarrassed and ashamed. They want to pull into themselves and hide.
For people who eat their feelings, food is providing for them something they haven’t been able to find in any other way. Perhaps food equals security. Or getting their needs met. Or being loved.
Group therapy can be a potent way for decreasing shame. The simple act of sharing your struggles with others who are in the same boat can drastically reduce the feeling of isolation that comes with feeling bad about yourself for your eating behaviors.
Three Ways to combat the struggle of shame.
What to do if you are struggling with feelings of shame?
- Join a group. Whether a self-help support group or therapy process group, being able to talk about your feelings with others can be a powerful way to combat shame. Clients in my groups make significant forward strides beyond what they’ve done in individual therapy.
- Start identifying what is happening to you as a feeling. Rather than saying to yourself, “I am stupid,” try saying, “I’m feeling ashamed right now.” This can be a way to stop beating yourself up when you are feeling this painful emotion.
- Tell someone safe. Talking to a partner or close friend, someone who will not add to your shame by trying to fix it or make it your fault, can greatly reduce this uncomfortable feeling.
A special message from Dr. Butterworth:
“Change can truly happen when leaning on the support and accountability of others. That’s why I am motivated to open my S.T.O.P. Eating Your Feelings group to new members on March 4, 2017. The group meets first and third Saturdays from 10 to 11:30 am. Please call 724-934-3905 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up.
Space is very limited so please contact us today 🙂
Participation is covered by most health insurance plans.