The Epidemic of Emotional Eating

07/30/2010 12:23 pm ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

Emotional eating, which is almost always synonymous with overeating, is a serious illness -- an extremely common form of addiction. If left untreated, it can lead to many other serious physical and emotional illnesses. Yet, strangely, as the masses dig their graves with their teeth (to borrow from an old French proverb), the truths about emotional eating are droned out by the dietary white noise of weight-loss fads and fuzzy nutritional science.

Needless to say, most of the popular approaches to health and diet are profoundly misguided. If the very fabric of a garment were inexplicably deteriorating, would a needle and thread do it any good? Not remotely! Similarly, there is no quick fix for reversing the deterioration of our emotional and physical structures. The illnesses and disorders that run rampant today call for much more than modern medicine. We cannot begin to heal until we begin with a paradigm of wholeness.

Emotional eating is a widespread form of auto-destruction, an epidemic that's quietly destroying lives in a manner virtually undetected culture at large. This is because so many of us were never taught how to read the telltale signs of emotional eating. Physical symptoms are the body's way of telling us when we are making harmful choices. Likewise, emotional symptoms communicate when we are harming our spiritual body. When we achieve fluency in the language of symptoms and learn to pay attention to the conversation, we can use this dialogue to guide our life choices. Until then, we'll continue to create and perpetuate all kinds of obstacles in our lives--especially those related to food!

Whether emotional or physical, all disease, at its core, is caused by living in opposition to natural laws. "You cannot break the law," one wise teacher emphasized. "You can only break yourself against the law." This is precisely what most of us are doing today as we manifest myriad symptoms of deterioration. If we don't make life-generating choices, we cannot expect to radiate life-generating qualities. Yet, everywhere we turn, our culture demands that we do both: consume toxic amounts of toxic substances that pass for food and medicine--and, at the same time, radiate extreme youth, beauty, joy and health.

Sure, we can continue to demand that our bodies and the natural world pretzel in Herculean maneuvers around our unnatural choices--and they will, but at a very steep price, until those choices simply break us. Or we can choose to consume substances that work in harmony with nature to raise us to our greatest physical and emotional potential.

Let's face it, no other species in the known history of the planet appears to have an overeating problem, much less need to be briefed on appropriate levels of consumption (i.e., numbers of meals, calories, nutrients and so on). Until the civilization of our species, food consumption was instinctual and uncomplicated. We have lost touch with our intuition around food due to utterly unnatural living.

Modern cultural wiring, corporate motives and political agendas warp our natural instincts around food from the moment we are born--instincts that have kept our species surviving, evolving, and thriving for millions of years. Why? Society's machinery relies on the bovine herd mentality to lead the masses away from personal responsibility and straight into its own clutches.

Personal autonomy is anathema to corporate industry, which thrives on the mindless consumption of unnecessary products (everything from widgets to potato chips to diet supplements to pharmaceuticals). In other words, the puppeteers of consumerism can only hold sway over toxic people in a toxic mindset. Clear, self-directed, aware individuals would easily see through the system and threaten its success.

What would happen if the blinders came off and everyone could see the truth of how societal manipulations have kept us in a holding pattern of dissatisfaction and dependence? What would happen if we finally understood emotional eating for what it really is? Would it shock us? I suspect our current mode of living would begin to dissolve and in its place would develop the next stage of our evolution.

Excerpt from Emotional Eating S.O.S.!
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