Do you suffer from diabesity? Is losing weight extremely difficult for you because of food cravings and emotional eating? What types of emotions trigger your food cravings and emotional eating?
Research shows emotional eating can be caused by many factors, including depression, boredom, anger, and loneliness. But the most common reason for food cravings and emotional eating is stress. There is a physiological reason why people experience food cravings when stressed, which we will get to shortly. But if you struggle with weight issues, your triggers for food cravings and emotional eating are more complicated and intense than that.
Not only is it extremely stressful to be overweight in this society, but it can also subject you to abuse. Some heavier people suffer abuse on an almost daily basis. If you’re like most overweight or obese individuals, you’ve been guilted, shamed, and bullied into trying to lose weight. Family and friends wonder why you can’t lose weight and keep it off.
Even if they don’t say it, you just know they secretly blame you for your inability to permanently lose weight. They think — and sometimes even say — that you’re not trying hard enough or you don’t have enough willpower or you’re cheating on your diet. It’s always your fault. You’re so used to being abused, you probably agree with their judgment of you. You are deeply ashamed and profoundly guilty. You feel worthless.
Diabesity and the Cycle of Food Cravings and Emotional Eating
These feelings make losing weight even more difficult. Every perceived failure triggers food cravings, sending you on an emotional eating spree. You then feel worse than you did before, which triggers still more food cravings and emotional eating sprees – and diabesity. It is a vicious cycle — but you can break it.
Food cravings and emotional eating are all about the quality of the food you eat and the quality of the thoughts you think. We’ll address both in this article. Once you improve these areas, you will easily lose weight. Food cravings and emotional eating will be habits of the past, and you no longer have to worry about diabesity.
Food Cravings + Emotional Eating = Diabesity
Diabesity is a condition in which obesity and type 2 diabetes occur together. The word, “diabesity,” was coined to describe the interrelationship between obesity and type 2 diabetes. One of them almost always leads to the other. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control reports that about 90% of those who are obese will develop type 2 diabetes.
Whether you have heard the term “diabesity ” or not, it’s essential that you know how massive and tragic of a problem diabesity is. Directly impacting more than a billion people worldwide, including 50 percent of Americans over 65, it is the largest health epidemic in human history, according to a 2017 report published in Clinical Diabetes and Endocrinology.
At the heart of diabesity is an elevated setpoint of weight and blood glucose. While researchers don’t yet know why an elevated setpoint shows up first as type 2 diabetes in some people and as obesity in others, they do know when one shows up, the other is soon to follow. Here’s a brief explanation about how it works:
A diagnosis of type 2 diabetes means insulin is building up in your bloodstream, making it almost impossible for your body to burn stored fat for fuel. That makes obesity almost inevitable. Similarly, a diagnosis of obesity means your brain, gut, hormones, or all of them can’t do their job to regulate weight. This leads to insulin building up in your bloodstream which leads to type 2 diabetes.
So if your brain, gut, and/or hormones are not healthy, your setpoint will rise and if nothing is done, you will be diagnosed with either obesity or type 2 diabetes. If nothing is done after that diagnosis, the other diagnosis will follow, and you will have diabesity.
Hormonal Clog and Elevated Setpoint
If you’ve had trouble managing diabetes or losing weight and keeping it off, something we call a “hormonal clog” may be at work to keep your setpoint elevated. When you become hormonally clogged, your brain can no longer rely on signals from your hormones that would otherwise enable you to burn body fat automatically.
However, when you increase the quality of your eating, thinking, and moving, you can heal your hormones. You can “unclog” them and begin to lower your setpoint. Your body will then automatically burn body fat instead of storing it. It will work constantly to defend you against diabesity.
We will discuss increasing the quality of your eating and thinking in this article.
How Poor-Quality Food Raises Setpoint
Research shows consuming refined carbs, heavily processed foods, and sugar raises setpoint and leads to diabesity. Here’s how it happens:
When your body digests sugars and starches, it breaks them down into glucose, which is absorbed and distributed throughout the bloodstream. Your glucose — or blood sugar — then rises. This triggers your pancreas to release more insulin into your bloodstream. Insulin travels through the blood to your body’s cells where it “tells” them to open up and let the glucose in.
Once inside the cell, glucose is converted into energy, or it is stored for later use. Without insulin, your body cannot use or store glucose for energy. Instead, the glucose stays right there in your bloodstream and builds up.
If you eat too much sugary, starchy, highly processed food, your glucose levels stay elevated longer than usual, as increasingly more insulin is released to clear it from the bloodstream. Once insulin is constantly elevated, cells become so accustomed to its presence they stop recognizing it and will not open for it. This is called insulin resistance.
When cells won’t accept glucose, insulin has no choice but to take it to your fat cells. To prevent a toxic build-up of blood sugar, fat cells always open their doors to excess caloric energy. It this cycle continues long enough, all the non-fat cells in your body send distress signals that they are starving. This causes the body to demand and take in excess calories and increase its setpoint.
Food Cravings and Emotional Eating Elevate Setpoint
Do you ever notice that when you’re stressed, your food cravings are never for broccoli, spinach, tomatoes, or carrots? That’s because emotional eating always involves “comfort foods,” such as pizza, doughnuts, chips, french fries, ice cream, and other refined carbs. There is a physiological reason for that, and it involves hormones.
Stress triggers a release of the hormone cortisol that in turn triggers a release of insulin to shuttle glucose into the cells for energy. As part of the “fight-or-flight response, this release of cortisol is necessary to help us escape a life-threatening situation. It is designed for short-term stress, and when the stress (the life-threatening event) has passed, cortisol levels return to normal and the body relaxes.
The problem is that many people treat every problem as a life-threatening situation, and their bodies react accordingly. They live in a state of chronic stress. What does that mean for your diabesity, food cravings, and emotional eating? Well…
Your cortisol levels stay elevated. And because cortisol prompts the release of insulin, that hormone stays elevated, too, making it impossible for you to burn fat. This is terrible news for your body, your setpoint, and therefore your risk of Diabesity.
And there’s more. Unlike physical stress causing you to “run for your life,” psychological stress does not burn off any glucose. So now you’ve got a setpoint elevating trio of constantly elevated cortisol, high levels of insulin, and a surge of glucose circulating in your bloodstream.
The insulin resistance caused by cortisol triggers feedback to the brain indicating cells aren’t getting their glucose, which leads to cravings for more glucose. Would you like to guess where you find the most glucose? That’s right, in sugars and starches. You know what makes weight loss nearly impossible? Intense sugar and starch cravings.
How to End Food Cravings, Emotional Eating, and Diabesity with Healthy Foods
The best way to end food cravings, emotional eating, and ultimately Diabesity is to eat healthy foods. These foods are filling, do not affect blood glucose levels, and trigger fat-burning hormones. They have been proven to remove hormonal clogs allowing you to easily lower your setpoint weight.
Healthy foods are whole-foods as close to their natural states as possible. All you need to do is select foods from these three food groups at every main meal: non-starchy vegetables, nutrient-dense protein, and whole-food fats. You’ll be amazed how delicious and filling they are. In fact, you’ll be so full you won’t have room for heavily processed foods, sugar, and starchy carbs.
How to End Food Cravings, Emotional Eating, and Diabesity with the Positive Mind-Set
Obtaining a positive mindset is a very important step toward becoming diabesity free. The mindset is what controls or triggers emotional eating. Practicing these 3 mindsets will help them become second nature to you. In time, you won’t even have to think about them. And…you’ll be diabesity free.
1. Progress Versus Perfection
Letting go of the pressure to be perfect is very important to lower your setpoint weight. In fact, the surest way to struggle is to seek perfection. That’s because the idea that you need to be perfect makes change impossible because you know perfection — especially when it comes to how you eat or how you look — is literally impossible.
Consider a different mindset. Imagine if you believed the following: “What if each day I got 1 percent better? Then, in 100 days, I’d be 100% better.” It’s the simple math of sustainable change, and 100 days are the blink of an eye when you think of all the time you’ve spent struggling with your health and weight.
Just make one little food substitution or improvement each day, and before you know it, you’ll be 100% better!
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2. Break the Cycle of Shame
When you require “perfection” to feel successful, you will constantly feel ashamed. Shame is a powerfully debilitating emotion. Shame literally weakens you more than any other emotion you could possibly feel. This is because shame is the intensely painful feeling of being fundamentally flawed, robbing you of any self-worth.
Instead of feeling ashamed and blaming yourself — telling yourself you’re a failure — when you eat something you shouldn’t, think or say to yourself, “I ate a bowl of ice cream, which moves me further away from my goals.” This takes the onus off you, makes it impersonal. You are not a bad person. The action you took was bad. That’s all. This change of mindset makes a huge difference.
Remember…the problem is always the problem — not you!
3. Set Positive Goals
Most diet and health program focus on negative goals. They tell you what NOT to eat, when NOT to eat, and where NOT to eat. And that is exactly why these plans fail. Here’s why: When you tell your brain “don’t do something,” your brain responds by hyper-focusing on that thing. Ironically, the harder you try not to do something the more likely you are to do it.
The same thing happens with food. Have you ever tried not to think about a certain food? What immediately happens? You think more and more about that food. Want to make it as hard as possible to avoid sugar? Tell yourself, “No sugar.” What is your brain going to help you see everywhere and think about all the time? Sugar.
To get your goals working for you—rather than against you—make sure they focus you on pursuing the positive rather than attacking the negative. This approach empowers your brain to keep what you want on the top of your mind, and you effortlessly find opportunities to lower your setpoint everywhere.
This approach is awesome because it works with your brain—rather than against it—and thus makes reaching your goals much easier. In this approach to goal-setting, you are going to be adding positive strategies rather than depriving yourself. By setting goals that pursue the positive rather than attacking the negative, you will get better results and have a more enjoyable time getting there!