I’ve overcome emotional eating and depression several times in my life. I want to share with you now how I did it and how you can use my experience to break free from food obsessions, sugar cravings, overeating and depression for good.
What causes depression
Many things can cause depression. Doctors will tell it’s caused by a chemical imbalance. Others may suggest it’s because you’ve had an unhappy childhood. Sometimes,people will suggest the cause is a major life crisis, like a divorce or the death of a loved one. A grieving period is absolutely normal but how about an enduring depression?
I believe depression can be caused by several factors, but most result from the kind of thoughts you keep in your head all day and the intensity of emotions attached to those thoughts. For example, if you think that your life will always be disappointing and painful and you attach feelings of hurt and despair to it, you have a good chance of experiencing depression after some time.. Thoughts like: “ I can’t go on.”, “I’ll never be happy again.”, “The same thing always happens to me. I can’t get out.”…. are thoughts likely to cause depression. They are general thoughts, leaving no room for improvement or hope.
I went through depression several times in the past, and each time I completely ceased to see a happy future in my life. When I thought of the future, all I could see was darkness.
My father had a stroke while on holiday last December. He returned home early and called me immediately from the airport. When I saw him he was completely devastated. He couldn’t see a worthwhile future for himself. He kept repeating. “That’s the end for me. All I have to do is wait and die.” He had been suffering with mild depression for months but it had gotten worse before Christmas. I asked him what he saw for the future? “Nothing. I have no future”, he replied. All he could see for his future was darkness, very much as I had experienced during my own depression.
I said to him “Well, would you like us to envision a new future for you?” He was a bit reluctant but agreed, and I was able to help him do just that. A few days later, he was much better. Did he come out of his depression? I don’t think he did entirely, but he is trying to create a new future for himself, making new friends and trying new things. I think that’s a real improvement
Can Depression Cause Overeating
When I look back at my own life, I can clearly see that I started overeating only during prolonged mild depression. Severe depression tended to cause me to stop eating altogether.
Emotional eating for me occurred mostly during long-lasting episodes of mild depression. At those times, I felt completely overwhelmed, incapable of facing my responsibilities and having to try very hard just to deal with my day-to-day life. I was numbing or exacerbating my emotions with food, movies or other activities.
I also started eating cookies and candy daily in order to get some sense of satisfaction or pleasure in my life. I was functioning. I could work, but I was really unhappy.
I’m not sure if I really remembered what it felt to feel loved, powerful, cherished and important. Most of the time I felt worthless, unwanted, not good enough; incapable of taking care of myself, facing my fears and doing the things that mattered. Those were dark days and I didn’t want to admit it. More importantly, I felt trapped. I couldn’t see a better future for myself so I was putting up with the one I thought was mine.
All I had to help me were TV shows, some movies and a lot of candy. I was doing everything I could to avoid my feelings. If I hadn’t denied them, maybe I would have been forced to admit that I needed help, that I was losing all my self-esteem in a very toxic relationship. But I thought that was all I was worth,. I thought I could never be better, do better or have better ,so I should cling on to what I had. Who would want to help such a dumb ass as me?
This is my story. Yours is probably different. I don’t think all emotional eaters are necessarily depressed, but they tend to share similar beliefs, like “ I have no other choice” or “ I’m not good enough” or “I can’t have what I want in life”. These are negative thoughts even if they don’t lead to severe depression.
The only trait all my clients share is denial. Sometimes they deny themselves the right to have the life they want. Sometimes they are trapped in a situation that seems outside of their control, and sometimes they simply ignore what they feel and what they know deep inside themselves would be better for them.
In other words, depression can sometimes cause overeating, but not all overeaters are suffering with severe depression.
Can Fatty Foods and Sugar Make Depression Worse
A researcher attached to Montreal University concluded in his study that “In addition to causing obesity, rich foods can actually cause chemical reactions in the brain in a similar way to illicit drugs, ultimately leading to depression as the ‘comedowns’ take their toll,”
Dr Mercola, in his regular blog, often cites sugar as being a major risk factor for depression. Here is a quote taken from one of his blogs: “sugar actually suppresses activity of a key growth hormone in the brain called BDNF. BDNF levels are critically low in both depression and schizophrenia.”
So to the question does sugar make depression worse, Dr Mercola effectively says “yes”, sugar promotes depression and worsens it symptoms.
I’ve certainly experienced a strong tie between mild depression and sugar cravings. The more sugar I ate, the less I was taking action to make my life better. This made me feel trapped and unhappy and I ate more sugar to alleviate that pain.
How to Stop Binge Eating Disorder and Depression at the Same Time?
I don’t pretend to be able to tell you exactly how to stop binge eating and end clinical depression in a few sentences. But I can give you a clear set of steps that can contribute to great improvements in your well-being in less than 30 days.
How I got out of clinical depression and how you can too
Hire a professional:
I got therapy. I regret not knowing back then the techniques that I know now because I believe they would have helped me to recover much more quickly, but I did everything I could to get support.
Whatever you do, don’t stay alone. Join a support group if you can’t afford therapy, but take some action to get some help.
I practice meditation daily. Meditation can be very easy. Just sit up straight on a chair and breathe deeply. I prefer to close my eyes. I started meditating for two minutes a day. You don’t have to do more than 15 minutes at a time to get results. I usually meditate eight minutes once a day for maintenance. It doesn’t take a lot of time, but the benefits of meditation are tremendous.
Meditation helps to lower stress, and gives you better clarity and focus, better relationships, better sleep and a tendency to be more positive… I think a form of meditation essential if you want to overcome binge eating and depression.
As I said earlier, when I was suffering deep depression, I couldn’t see anything but darkness when I thought about my future. So, after a few minutes of meditation I would visualize my future. In the beginning, all I could see was darkness. On day one, I placed a little dot of light in the middle of that darkness. The next day I made the dot bigger. A few days later, I could see a tunnel of light.
At this point, my therapy, which had seemed to be stalling for weeks, started producing such results that I wondered if it was the stuff I was doing that was making the most difference. Then I passed through that tunnel of light and I was out of depression. I had literally made my future much brighter.
I realize now that I had instinctively used what famous coaches like Anthony Robbins and Richard Bandler, co-creators of NLP teach. The idea is to shift the pictures you have in your head when you think of your future.
We are all more attuned to some of our senses more than others. Maybe you hear things more clearly than you see them. If so, you can make your future sound better by shifting your internal dialogue about it, or you can make it feel better by getting a sensation of a pleasant future if you prefer to feel things.
Whatever method you choose, if you are severely depressed, start small and build from that slowly, but daily. If you go too fast, you may create an intense counter-reaction, so remember to do this step by step and start small.
My favorite yoga instructor used to tell me:
“Here we don’t push ourselves beyond our limits. We work gently and persistently so that our limits move back”.
That was a beautiful lesson. In other words, if you start small and act gently but persistently with presence, you can expand beyond your own limits and you can let go of depression without having to go to through major turmoil.
End Mild Depression, Emotional Eating and Obsessing on Food
I believe that emotional eating can cover up mild depression. It can help someone get by for years without owning her power and getting the genuine satisfaction that comes with having the life she wants. That’s why it might be hard to let go. You may intuitively sense that if you stop obsessing on food, you’ll start seeing the areas of your life and of yourself that you’re not happy with.
I remember the stress, the struggle and the anxiety keeping me up at night because I just wouldn’t accept that no one would ever come and rescue me. I had to take responsibility for myself, my life and my well-being and I wasn’t there for me.
This may sound like hard work but it’s actually quite short and simple. For example, the steps, I give in my article on how to stop emotional eating can help you get out of mild depression too.
My plan to help you stop binge eating is designed to help you regain control of yourself. It is the most empowering experience and will help with mild depression as well.
In other words, you can take care of both binge eating and depression at the same time with the same method. You can experience results within seven days and great improvements within 21 days.
When you use my plan, you stop relying on food to make yourself feel better. You learn to rely on yourself instead. This is the most exciting, empowering and liberating experience I’ve ever known. You get to feel good about yourself on a daily basis and food becomes just that, food; something you eat to feed your body.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this article. Please share your comments below.
I read your blog and I don’t get it.
How will sitting in a chair breathing deeply help?
And how will sitting in a chair visualizing myself being more than what I am now help?
I just turned 54….my life is half-way over and I don’t see a bright cheery future, and I don’t see me changing anything.
And sitting in a chair and breathing deeply or visualizing a tunnel to go through is not going to make me change that fact.
The only cognitive solid advice found in your blog…. is for me to stop binging on sugary substances. Maybe this alone will help me get out this dark hole I’ve put myself in.
I see that you experienced a strong reaction reading this post. And, that can actually be a good thing.
My question to you is how can you know that sure if you haven’t tried it?
This has worked on me, on my father and on my clients… But you seem certain this won’t help you.
Also, how can you be so sure it’s a fact when it could be just a belief?
Also, you said:
I see that. And, I also know you have the choice to keep looking at this darkness you see ahead of you or replace it with a brighter image.
Which one do you prefer? Which one do you think will serve yo best?
Warmest regards Irene,
I went thro your article I have decided to read it daily so that I will always feel energetic and motivated . I have started gaining confidence that I can have control on sweets especially
Hi This is swanandi I have bipolar disorder that is also related with energy fluctuations . I really liked your article and will moderately increase activity as you said thanks
I'm soooo happy to be reading this. What you also want to do is incorporate each step to your daily life gradually.
Tell me how it goes. Contact me here https://laurahoussain.com/contact/
Hi jst read yr blog , I am 43 and have suffered depression for yrs especially with pms . Will get magnesium today and try the 15 mins of meditation x
I’m happy to hear that you have decided to take action.
I hope the magnesium is helping. I know it helps me during PMS.
Meditation is really helpful also, especially for depression.
I have written another article about depression where I give a visualization
script that has helped me break through mine.
But, if you suffer from mild to severe depression, please don’t try to
do it without the help of a professional therapist though.
Let me know how it goes,
I just found your blog. Amazing!! it helps me stay honest and on track.
Thanks for letting me know Taruna! I’m really happy to hear that.
Laura you are an inspiration to others. I would love to chat with you about your program send me an email!
Keep posting the good work.Some really helpful information in there. Nice to see your site. Thanks!