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Podcast: Why Eating Your Emotions May Lead to Poor Health



Many people eat their emotions from time to time. So what's the big deal?

Today I look at the consequences of emotional eating and how it can lead to weight gain and poor health in the future.

Plus what amazing things happen when you fix your relationship with food!

Transcription of Podcast

Please note this transcription is generated by software. There may be some errors. I hope you find it useful.

Hello? Hello. Hello, wonderful people. How are you today? I hope that you are feeling amazing. Welcome to fit and fabulous with me, Dr. Orlena Kerek. I am super, super excited. I have just had a visit from my sister who lives in the UK. I live in Spain and she came over with her husband and her two children. I have not seen her for nearly three years.

So it is amazing to see her. And I'm so grateful to spend some time with her and her family. And my brother is coming soon as well. So it just feels like life is getting a little bit back to normal, at least in terms of family and seeing people. And I hope that you are enjoying some time with your family.

And do you know what this podcast is all about? Health and wellness and how we can be our best selves and our most healthy selves. And actually we are sociable creatures. Humans are sociable creatures. So actually family and connection and being sociable. It's a big part of our health as. okay. Today, I want to talk to you about emotional eating and you might be like, Hey, Orlena do you think you might have covered emotional eating?

Two Big Keys to Creating Healthy You

You eating, you do seem to go on about it quite a lot. And I know I do. I do go on about emotional eating quite a lot. And one of the reasons is, is because one it's really prevalent and two it's really fun to change it. It's amazing to change it. Now, if I take a step back and have a think about what do I think.

1. Fixing Your Relationship with Food

Some of the most important keys that you can really work on in order to change your life, to get to healthy, amazing you. I think two really important things. And excuse me for having said this before, are. Fixing your relationship with food. So not emotionally eating, having a good relationship with food.

2. Creating Healthy Habits, Systems and Routines

And the other aspect really is systems and habits and routines. And that's really the, how do we do things? How do we do things on a daily basis? How do we provide ourselves with healthy foods? How do we make sure that we are running and enjoying things? So those are two things that I work on quite a lot with my clients.

Free End Emotional Eating Workshop

Find out more here: 

Okay. So emotional eating now. You know that emotional eating affects you. Exciting, exciting news next week on Wednesday. So next Wednesday, Wednesday, the 10th of August at 9:30 AM. Eastern time, I am going to be hosting an End Emotional Eating Workshop. Now, big apologies. If you signed up for this week, I was gonna do it this week until I realized, oh my goodness.

Some holidays. Apparently we had a preexisting. arrangement that I didn't know about. So I've had to change that. So it's going to be next week at nine 30. And I'll tell you a little bit more about that. Now, if you're listening to this podcast, after that date, do not worry because I'm going to be doing these workshops relatively frequently.

So about once a month and you just need to tech check the show notes, the show notes change, and I will put the link. Okay. So let's have a think about emotional eating and what I would think is really important.

How Is Emotional Eating Affecting You?

And we can go through this more in the workshop because then I can actually talk to you is how emotional eating is affecting you.

And obviously this is different for other people, but however, you look at your emotions, let's backtrack a little bit. Let's have a think about what emotional wellness is. in order to answer that question, we need to have a little think about how we function as human beings. And I find this absolutely fascinating.

What is Emotional Wellness?

Now, what I really love to say is we are emotional beings who think rather than thinking, be beings who feel emotions and what do I mean by that? I mean, essentially the way we act our behavior is very much driven by our. Rather than biologic. Now, obviously this depends, it's different for different people.

Some people are more logical than others. Some people are way, way more emotional than others, but essentially we all have these emotions that lead us to do things. Now here's a really interesting question. What exactly is an emotion? And I find this absolutely fascinating because you know what? I went to medical school and we hardly ever talked about emotions, even though we did, you know Sessions on psychology and things like that.

What are Emotions?

Nobody really ever explained to me what exactly an emotion was. And essentially an emotion is our body's shortcut. It's a program for understanding the world around us and emotions mean different things to different people, but essentially it's just a whole collection of incoming input that our body interprets in a certain way.

It's like a program that helps you understand the world around you much easier than for example having to interpret everything all the time. So. It allows us emotions allow us to have shortcuts, which meant, might mean, oh, something happens. I don't like that. I'm gonna avoid it. Like disgust is kind of is an emotion.

So, you know, you might have had a nasty taste of some food and then you see the food, you feel that emotion and you remember, oh my goodness. I didn't like that. I'm going to avoid that. now emotions are not perfect. And actually that's a really good example of picky eating and children is that they almost put up this barrier of, oh my goodness.

I ate this once. I didn't enjoy it. I am never even going to contemplate eating it again. And you can see how that emotion is very, very strong. No, there's no way I'm doing that. and it leads to this behavior of avoiding certain foods. And if your kids are anything like my kids, then those certain foods are mostly vegetables and things that are healthy for you.

And the foods that you like and desire are the non-healthy foods, the sugar. Now it is slightly more complicated than that. We have also. This sugar seeking drive, which both kids and adults have. I always say kids and adults are glucose seeking missiles, and that is our normal state of affairs. We have this drive to seek glucose.

Our Thoughts and Emotions are Closely Linked

And the other thing that makes it slightly more complicated is it's not just emotions, but our thoughts are very much tied up with our emotions. And our thoughts are things that we are not necessarily thinking. Out loud, if that makes sense inside our head, it's not like we're saying this thought, but it's a deep down thought that you may not really be aware of.

And that thought may have come from how you were treated as a child or later on in your life or one experience. And it might be something like I'm not worthy or that's never gonna happen to me. Or I'm just somebody who is always gonna be overweight and I can't enjoy healthy living and I can't enjoy all of these things.

And those thoughts are so buried that we hardly hardly notice them. But what we do notice is the emotion that comes with them, which is, Ugh, yuck, that kind of thing. And interestingly, we put words to emotions, but. that is just a social constraint in that we can create our own emotions. If you have an emotion that.

You feel, but doesn't fit into society. You can just invent a word and say, Hey, this is, this is what I mean by that. And actually, if we look at different societies, different societies have different words, which mean slightly different things. I have a word which I have invented called “seafling”, which means I enjoy being in the sea.

Emotional Wellness Mean we Feel All Emotions But Don’t Spiral Down a Negative Plughole

So to answer that question, what is emotional wellness? So we have these emotions and some of them, we consider to be positive emotions, happiness, joy, excitement, and some of them we consider to be negative emotions, sadness, frustration, overwhelm. Now these emotions lead us to act in a certain way.

Emotions Only Last a Few Minutes (Unless You Keep Triggering them)

Now an emotion actually doesn't last for very long. Now you might say Dr. Orlena that's so not true. It lasts for ages, but what often happens is you feel an emotion and that's, it's being triggered by a thought and that thought you keep thinking I'm not worthy. I'm not worthy. I'm not worthy. Leads you to feel down in the dumps.

Upset overwhelmed all of these things. And you keep thinking that thought and you keep feeling that emotion and that emotion then leads you to take action. I'm going to eat cake. I'm going to do something else. And then again, after that, you have another thought we're very good at judging ourselves. And that thought is gonna be something like, see, I told you you are useless and another emotion.

Oh my goodness. I feel even worse. I feel. And so we go round in what I call this negative. Plughole you go down and down and down now that is not emotional wellness. What is emotional wellness is being able to feel your emotions and move on. So you have the tools to be able to control those emotions. . So what does that look like?

It's a bit like you're on a river. It's a really wobbly river, really big rushing river with loads of curves life without emotional wellness is that river. And you get thrown from side to side. You have no control of where you are going. Now. Imagine somebody gives you a raft that is emotional wellness, and yes, you are on the same river.

The same things are gonna happen to you, but you are more in control of. How you respond now, it doesn't necessarily mean that you are going to never feel those emotions. Sometimes emotions are appropriate, something bad happens. You feel sad. You upset your child goes into hospital. You feel worried about those things, but what happens is you don't spiral down that negative plughole you are aware of what's going on and you take steps to.

Many Tools Will Help You Maintain Emotional Wellness

understand that to make sure that it doesn't overwhelm you, that you're not acting from a place of that emotion. So I remember a time, I remember the first day when, you know, everyone announced COVID and we had this quarantine, it was a bit of a shock. The whole world was up in arms, and I felt emotional about that.

And I had my young kids at home because they weren't allowed to go to school and going, oh my goodness. I just feel. So emotional. Now, what I did was I went to my room. I did a little bit of yoga. I did a little of little bit of meditation because those are tools that I know will help me work through that emotion.

And after an hour I came out going, okay, I can cope with this. Get on with my life. So you can see the difference between that and allowing that stress and that worry to keep coming back, to keep manifesting for a day or two days or even a year or two years going, okay. I may not have any control over this, but I can show up.

I can do my best. I can make the most of this. So that, that essentially is the difference between emotional wellness and not emotional wellness. And let me tell you the journey of emotional wellness is amazing. It is constantly finding something else out about yourself or how people work. And it's a really exciting journey to come on.

How is Your Emotional Wellness?

so question number one really is how is emotional eating and your emotional wellness? How is that affecting you? Now, if you struggle with emotional eating, I'm guessing it's gonna look like this. Emotional eating leads you to overeat, and then you know that you are overweight and you are struggling because you want to lose weight, but.

What’s the Problem with Emotional Eating?

You can't do it. And the reason you can't do it is because I can tell you exactly what to eat. I can tell you, I can even come and cook in your house and say, eat these things. But if emotional eating is driving, you are overeating until you examine that emotional aspect. It does not matter because life is always going to happen.

And when life happens, And emotional eating is a thing that you do, you are going to end up emotional eating, and then you're gonna beat yourself up. And then everything is just gonna unravel and you're gonna be back to square one. So why is this important in the world? Well, Overeating leads to being overweight.

Emotional Eating May Lead to Obesity

It leads to obesity. Why is obesity a big deal? Is it just because of our body image? No, it's not. Let me read out a few things. Facts about overweight and obesity from the w H O now they have a fact sheet. So if you want to, you can look this up, but this is a few facts that they say about being overweight and beef in 2016, more than 1.9 billion adults aged 18 years and older were overweight.

Obesity May Lead to Bad Health

In 2016, 39% of adults were overweight. And so in 2016, about 13% of the world's population was overweight. And one of the things that I think is really interesting about this is that obesity and overweightness has almost become the norm. My children are not overweight. They're actually quite skinny, but so many people say to them, oh, you are underweight.

Now I trained as a pediatric doctor, and I know that they aren't underweight. They are normal weight. They are growing. They're perfectly healthy. However, the conception is that they are thinner than everybody else. Now it's not that they are underweight. It's that everybody else, not everybody, but a lot of other people are overweight.

And so people think, oh my goodness, my children are too thin and it's not true. So now here's a question. Going back to the w H O sheet. It says what causes obesity and overweight. And it says an increased intake of energy dense foods that are high in fats and sugars and an increase in physical inactivity.

So being still due to the increasingly sedentary nature of many forms of work, changing modes of transport and increasing urbanization. So essentially what they're saying is you can change that. By eating healthily and moving now it says, what are common health consequences of overweight and obesity?

The WHO Says Raised BMI is a Risk Factor for Illnesses

So raised BMI is a major risk factor for lifestyle illnesses, cardiovascular disease, mainly heart disease and stroke, which were the leading cause of death in 2000.

  • cardiovascular disease (mainly heart disease and stroke
  • Diabetes
  • Muscular skeletal disorders (especially osteoarthritis)
  • Some cancers

And. Diabetes one in three people who have diabetes end up having heart problems, muscular skeletal disorders, especially osteoarthritis, which is really not great. It's highly disabling, degenerative disease of the joints and some cancers. And it says the risk for these diseases increases with BMI, which means the more weight you have, the more risk you have.

The WHO Says Obesity is Mainly Preventable

Now here is another big thing it has in the top of its key facts. Obesity is preventable. Let me say that again. Obesity is preventable and in my mind, one of the really, well, I think it's double edged sword. It's really sad because so many people don't realize, but it's really amazing because it's so empowering is that actually.

Leading a Healthy Life will Help Prevent Illness

It's really easy to lead a healthy life. When you know how now I totally understand that if you're stuck in unhealthy habits, it is difficult to get out of those healthy habits without health help. And I really do urge you to get help either from your healthcare providers. In reality, I think healthcare providers find it quite difficult to help people because they just don't have the capacity to be able to help you.

But there are a lot of people who will help you including myself. So if you're interested, I have lots of services to help you change this around. But the bottom line is that obesity is preventable. It causes lots of illness, including death. The best thing to do is to avoid it. So when we come back to emotional eating and we think, okay, it's just a bit of emotional eating.

I personally think that pretty much everybody does emotional eating. When does it become a problem? It becomes a problem when it's leading to people overeating so much that they are overweight and therefore at risk of nasty illnesses that you really want to. and here's another thing I think about being overweight as well.

Leading a Healthy Life will Increase Your Energy Levels

It's not just the future. It's also the amount of energy that you have. Energy is such an amazing part of your life. It really makes such a big difference. My husband has been unwell with COVID and other things stress. And today he was saying, Hey, you know what? I just feel my energy levels are much higher.

Doesn't that make an amazing. Difference in your life. If you have the energy to do all of those things that you need to do and have to do and want to do you enjoy doing them far much, you enjoy doing them much more. You enjoy your life much more. And one of the things I really noticed with working with people is that when they change the way that they eat and live, the first thing that they see is their energy levels going.

Why Stop Emotional Eating?

So my next question really is why change emotional eating. And I think I've kind of addressed that. What are the benefits? Well, number one, you get to lose weight. You get to create this healthy lifestyle that you love. So that weight loss is easy. It just falls off and you get to avoid all these nasty illnesses.

You get to increase your energy levels, but even more than that, when you start understanding your emotions, actually, there are so many more benefits in terms of your relationships with your family, with your friends, with other people, and you begin to see how your emotions play out with other people. So let me give you an example.

It might be that your friends say something to upset you, and you can have this emotion. And hold a grudge, get upset, go. I'm gonna avoid those people. And that relationship becomes a bit sour, a bit unpleasant. It's a source of stress, or you can be aware of your emotions and go, okay. I understand my emotions.

Now there's different ways of dealing with that. You might say, okay, I understand my emotions. I'm just gonna change how I feel about that. How I think about that, or you, it might lead you to say, do you know what I'm actually gonna address this with those people, either way, your relationship becomes stronger and happier.

There's a third option you might go. Do you know what? These people calls me so much stress. I'm actually gonna write them out for my life. So any of those things are, excuse me. Possible, but you get to choose which ones you want to do. So you put yourself in this position of, I get to choose my relationships and I'm going to work on my relationships so that my relationships are actually all amazing.

I don't feel like I'm being manipulated and. Told what to do. I feel like I choose my relationships and all my relationships are amazing. And when you do this work on emotional eating, actually that is an amazing side effect that I see time and time again with my clients. They come to me because they want to lose weight and lead a healthy life.

And actually throughout the work they end up going, oh my goodness, my relationships are much better. My entire life is much better. I'm doing all the things that I want to do. I've created this life that I absolutely. So I hope that I have answered these questions. What is emotional eating and how do you go about changing it?

Free End Emotional Eating Workshop

Sign up here: 

Okay. I have talked about how we go about changing it before, and I will definitely address it in the workshop. So if you are interested, the End Emotional Eating Workshop is Wednesday, the 10th of August at 9:30 AM Eastern time, and we will be really having a look. You and your emotion eating and how it turns up for you will be going more into depth about how you change it and simple things that you can do to change it.

And lastly, just a quick reminder that I have five back to school, special places, if you want to work with me. And when I say work with me, that's working with me as a coach, either one on one or in my group program. So if you are interested in this amazing, amazing offer back to school, special five places, the idea is we have a chat we sorted out in, in August, and then.

Get ready to rock and roll and make that transformation. When your kids go back to school in September. If you would like to find out more about that, then you can either book a session. There's a special link in the show notes, or you can email me, or if you come to the end emotional eating workshop, then you can find out a little bit about what it looks like to work with me.

And if you're interested, you can book another chat after that. So listen so many options. Remember the end emotional eating workshop. And if you're interested in the practice school special, then book a call to come and chat with me. Have a fabulous. I will be back next week. Bye-bye.

Written By Dr Orlena

Dr Orlena Kerek (MBChB from the University of Bristol, UK) trained as a pediatric doctor. She is now a family health coach. She helps busy mums who want to feel amazing by eating healthy food, enjoy a healthy life, get back into their honeymoon shorts and teach their kids healthy habits all without thinking about it.

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