Monday, December 7, 2009

Emotional eating and intimacy connected

We eat for so many reasons! One situation that often leads us to soothe our anxiety with food is when we perceive our independence as threatened by others – when people seem too “close.” We also eat when others seem too “far away” from us. It is difficult for most of us to flow with the changing levels of closeness we feel. One minute we may feel close to someone only to feel far away later. Our relationships are always in flux and it is often difficult to adjust and re-adjust to someone’s closeness or distance.

Because we cannot control the level of intimacy we experience with another, we may feel afraid and out of control, threatened or abandoned. Then we may seek food to soothe the anxiety that comes with these feelings. How close or distant to be with another is difficult to know at times. Healthy relationships always require a flow – a give and take – of energy. Most of us were never taught how to achieve and maintain appropriate levels of intimacy – how to dance with the changing rhythms in a relationship. This takes knowledge and practice.

It is vital to understand that because someone may feel distant at times it has nothing to do with us. If the other person is experiencing their own feelings and choosing to shut down emotionally there is nothing we can do. Loving ourselves and tending to the most important relationship – the one we have with ourselves - is all we really have control over. So attend to yourself. If you feel abandoned or hurt by another, please be extra gentle with yourself. Emotional overeating will only make things worse in the long run.

Be well – warm wishes, Dr. Denise, Emotional Eating Expert

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