Obesity, being overweight, and overeating all have emotional roots that have to be addressed when you’re trying to lose weight. For example, if you were to tell an anorexic person to “just eat,” the psychology behind their disorder will go unchecked, allowing the same triggers and actions to continue. Similarly, weight loss won’t happen unless you get down to the root cause of emotional eating. As JD Roth, host of Z Living’s newest unscripted original series The Big Fat Truth likes to say, “no one is fat just because they love food.”
In The Big Fat Truth, Roth goes on a mission to discover some big fat truths about weight loss — starting with why so many people regain the weight they’ve lost. This involves a lot of emotional work too, even more so than workouts or dieting.
Is It Really ‘Hunger Pain?’
In order to finally break your unhealthy connection to food, you’ll have to figure out why it’s unhealthy in the first place. What you perceive as hunger pain is really emotional pain,” writes Roth in his book The Big Fat Truth, which the show is inspired by. “You can eat until the end of time and not fill the emptiness that comes from loss, anger, depression, or loneliness,” says Roth.
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If you struggle with eating and overeating, you’ve established a comforting emotional connection to food somewhere along the line. Whether it was that post-breakup bowl of ice cream, or fast-food takeout you used to get with your family—meals and snacks consumed in the vein of triggering an emotional response do trigger dopamine release, but it’s short-lived, and leads to crashes.
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How To Stop Using Food As An Emotional Cruth
In order to stop using food as an emotional crutch, you have to dig deep and ask yourself when you started emotionally eating. Were you bullied in school? Did your parents overeat and show you a bad example of how to use food for comfort? Did you use food to escape an abusive situation? Were you underfed as a child?
The root causes of emotional eating are varied and innumerable, but they all involve one thing: a situation in which you weren’t having your emotional needs met. When we aren’t experiencing love, comfort, and support from our family, friends, and peers, we will turn to other sources to find it. When food becomes this source, emotional eating begins.
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If you’re struggling to get to the root of your own emotional eating by yourself, it’s a great idea to seek help from your family and friends. If you feel comfortable, ask your friends where they think your emotional eating comes from. Ask your family. They have more insight than you think, and they’ll be more likely to be there to support you when you want to make changes if you make them a part of your initiative to change.
If you don’t feel comfortable discussing this with your family and friends—or if you feel they could be the cause of your issues with food—seek professional help from a therapist or a nutritionist. These doctors have heard everything: Nothing you tell them will be more shocking or embarrassing than what you’ve already heard. Seeking help can help you be honest in a way you’ve never been on your own, and their continued support can keep you on track for a healthier future.
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Find Out What You’re Hiding From.
Oftentimes, weight gain can be a way of disappearing. Sometimes people don’t want to be seen or get attention, so they cut themselves off and binge eat alone. If you find that you’re feeling secluded, ask yourself what you’re hiding from. Does going to the gym scare you? Does it remind you of gym class? Does dating scare you? Why?
When you’re honest with yourself about the causes of your emotional eating, you can begin to see the things you’re cutting yourself off from. The truth is that you can go to the gym just as you are, and you can start being more social whenever you want. Accept yourself at the start and set goals for the future. When you’re honest, you can’t trick yourself back into the past.
Watch The Big Fat Truth Sundays at 8PM, with special encore presentations Tuesdays at 8PM.