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When Food Is Comfort

Julie M. Simon

  • Paperback
PUBLISHED: 12th April 2018
ISBN: 9781608685509
A multifaceted new approach to weight loss, based on psychology, brain science, and the author's personal experience
When Food Is Comfort
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  • Paperback
PUBLISHED: 12th April 2018
ISBN: 9781608685509
A multifaceted new approach to weight loss, based on psychology, brain science, and the author's personal experience


A multifaceted new approach to weight loss, based on psychology, brain science, and the author's personal experience

Publisher Description

A multifaceted new approach to weight loss, based on psychology, brain science, and the author's personal experience.

Millions of people are trying to lose weight. But the ideas that overweight people are lazy, lack will power, or just love food hamper their success because the underlying reason for overeating is not addressed. Current science shows that a lack of consistent emotional nurturance in infancy and childhood, when the brain is being formed, train the brain to seek comfort and nurturance elsewhere, often in substances or behaviors such as food and overeating. The good news is that the brain can be re-trained. As the author details, emotional overeaters can - through simple, easily mastered skills - learn to self nurture. An Inner Nurturer, rather than something out there, becomes a reliable way to experience comfort, safety, and even joy - from within, rather than without.

Author Biography

Julie M. Simon, MA, MBA, LMFT, is a licensed psychotherapist and life coach with more than twenty-seven years of experience helping overeaters stop dieting, heal their relationships with themselves and their bodies, lose excess weight, and keep it off. She is the author of The Emotional Eater's Repair Manual and the founder of the popular Twelve-Week Emotional Eating Recovery Program. She lives in Los Angeles.

Table of Contents

TABLE OF CONTENTS Introduction Emotional Eater Questionnaire Part One -- Parental Nurturing: Beyond Food and Shelter 1. The Quality of Early Caregiving is Key 2. What's Love Got to Do with It 3. It's All in Your Head 4. The Body Remembers 5. Yes, But I Had Great Parents Part Two -- Inner Nurturing: Becoming Your Own Best Friend 6. Developing a Supportive Voice Within 7. Skill #1: Pop the Hood: Name and Track Emotions and Bodily Sensations 8. Skill #2: Practice Self-Validation 9. Skill #3: Reinforce the Alliance and Offer Love, Support and Comfort 10. Skill #4: Get Clear on Needs 11. Skill #5: Catch and Reframe Self-Defeating Thoughts 12. Skill #6: Highlight Resources and Provide Hope 13. Skill #7: Address Needs and Set Gentle Limits Part Three -- Creating Nurturing Connections 14. Taking It to the Street 15. Attracting Nurturing Others 16. Nurturing our Relationships Afterword Acknowledgments Bibliography Index About the Author

Long Description

Learn Inner Nurturing and End Emotional Eating If you regularly eat when you're not truly hungry, choose unhealthy comfort foods, or eat beyond fullness, something is out of balance. Recent advances in brain science have uncovered the crucial role that our early social and emotional environment plays in the development of imbalanced eating patterns. When we do not receive consistent and sufficient emotional nurturance during our early years, we are at greater risk of seeking it from external sources, such as food. Despite logical arguments, we have difficulty modifying our behavior because we are under the influence of an emotionally dominant part of the brain. The good news is that the brain can be rewired for optimal emotional health. When Food Is Comfort presents a breakthrough mindfulness practice called Inner Nurturing, a comprehensive, step-by-step program developed by an author who was herself an emotional eater. You'll learn how to nurture yourself with the loving-kindness you crave and handle stressors more easily so that you can stop turning to food for comfort. Improved health and self-esteem, more energy, and weight loss will naturally follow.

Excerpt from Book

Introduction Have you ever wondered why some people can keep many of their favorite comfort foods in the house, eat a small portion at a time, and save the rest for later? Perhaps they even forget that they bought those special imported cookies or chocolates and, God forbid, they go stale. Those same folks can go to a buffet or social gathering with an abundance of delectable foods and fill up one level plate, go back for a small amount of dessert and that''s it. They''re done. They don''t go back for seconds and thirds. And they don''t keep thinking about food. If having too many favorite "trigger" foods around overwhelms you and leads to mindless or excessive snacking, overeating or bingeing, then you''ve picked up the right book. You probably prefer to keep your cupboards and refrigerator bare of too many favorite comfort foods because they call to you when they''re in the house. If these foods are in the house for the kids, your spouse or company, you''re keenly aware of them, right? Most likely, you have to prepare yourself when dining in restaurants or attending social gatherings or holiday meals where there will be many of your favorite foods. Lack of planning on your part can lead to feeling food focused, overeating, and the accompanying remorse, guilt and shame. And let''s be honest--sometimes you come home after overindulging at social events and eat more! Maybe you''ve convinced yourself that your excesses aren''t really all that bad. You love good food--perhaps you even label yourself a "foodie." Is that such a crime? Everyone you know eats and drinks to excess at times, so what''s the big deal? It could be worse--you''re not shooting heroin or gambling yourself into bankruptcy. Truth be told, you''ve picked up this book because you''re tired of feeling out of control with food and of the control it seems to have over you. You''ve had enough food hangovers for one lifetime. Somewhere in the recesses of your mind you know that your life feels out of balance and that your excesses have something to do with it. You suspect or you know that your health is not optimal. You may not be satisfied with your weight. Perhaps you feel guilty about and ashamed of your eating behavior--at times you hate yourself for it--and you''re tired of having a poor body image. Take heart; you''re not alone. I know firsthand how frustrating it can be to feel so "food focused" all the time. I spent a good portion of my life stuck in a cycle of overeating comfort foods, gaining weight, and dieting. I found it especially difficult to stay away from my favorite foods like bread, scones, muffins, crackers, chips, cookies and candy and caffeinated beverages like diet soda, coffee and tea. I wasn''t able to keep my favorite foods in the house for any length of time. Inevitably, I would feel obsessed with them and overeat or binge and then throw them out. For many years, every time I brought them back into the house for a trial run, in any quantity larger than a single serving, I''d do okay for a day or two and then, unable to think about anything else, I''d start feeling compulsive and, well, you know the drill. I was definitely an emotional eater. I had difficulty regulating my emotions and I could get stuck in painful emotional states like anxiety, anger, sadness, hurt, shame, loneliness, frustration, depression or hopelessness for long periods of time. Food altered my brain chemistry and it helped numb the pain of unpleasant emotions, self-doubts and other negative thoughts. It also helped relieve stress. And because food is pleasurable and exciting, it was a good distraction. It temporarily filled up an inner emptiness and restlessness I regularly felt. Throughout my overeating days, I always believed that eating and maintaining our ideal body weight should be easy, comfortable and intuitive. I knew that we weren''t designed to count calories, carbohydrate or fat grams or to weigh and measure food, or our bodies, for that matter. We all have a phenomenal machine that does all those behind-the-scene calculations for us; a machine that signals us with hunger pangs, cravings and fullness cues. We all have an ideal weight, not overweight and not underweight. After all, our earliest of ancestors did not count calories or weigh and measure food and they maintained their weight in an optimum range. And so can you! I''m guessing that like me, you''ve tried to improve your relationship with food many times. You''ve been on every diet and eating plan known to mankind. But you''ve found it difficult to stick with restrictive eating plans. Even though you initially lose weight and feel a renewed sense of control, hope and motivation, at some point, a craving or a discomfort stirs and this sends you right back to that tried-and-true form of comfort, soothing, pleasure, relief, excitement, and distraction. You know others who have conquered these demons, but for whatever reason, you haven''t yet been successful. Perhaps you''ve concluded that these folks have more willpower or are more disciplined than you. Or that they have less stress. Or that they have a nurturing partner, close friends and a loving family and you don''t. Or that they have more balanced brain chemistry or better genetics. Or that you have an "addictive personality." And while these factors may well represent pieces of the overeating puzzle, there is a more important piece of the puzzle that is often overlooked. The seeming control others exhibit around favorite comfort foods may actually be the result of the quality of the caregiving they received as infants and small children, how their brain circuitry, brain chemistry and stress-response mechanisms developed in a nurturing environment, and the self-care skills they acquired early in life. Mastering the skill of self-regulation depends to a large extent on experiencing consistently kind, supportive and nurturing early interactions with our caregivers. Overeating is a Complex Behavior We all enjoy eating and, on occasion, will eat when not hungry or overeat just because the food is incredibly tasty or because it enhances our personal or social experiences. Enjoying food beyond simple sustenance is a normal part of life. It becomes problematic when we overeat to such an extent that there is significant weight gain or health risk. All overeating behaviors (mindless or excessive snacking, overeating at meals and bingeing) are the result of complex interactions between emotional, cognitive, biological, neurological, social and spiritual factors. Temperament and constitution, genetically inherited brain and body imbalances, insufficient nurturing, traumatic childhood experiences, chronic stress, chronic dieting and the easy availability of high-calorie, nutrient-deficient food all play a role. Overeating may seem like a simple act, but it''s actually a complex behavior. Its resolution requires a comprehensive, multidimensional approach. When we regularly eat in the absence of physical hunger cues, routinely choose unhealthy comfort foods, or eat beyond full, something is out of balance somewhere. These tendencies suggest that we are missing important self-care skills generally learned in childhood. We may be lacking the ability to connect to and be mindful of our internal world--to consistently regulate uncomfortable emotional and bodily states, calm and soothe ourselves and address our unmet needs. We may find it difficult to reframe self-defeating thoughts and self-belief distortions and practice self-acceptance and self-love. Perhaps we never learned how to effectively grieve losses and disappointments, remind ourselves of our strengths and resources and hold hope for the future. Without these skills, regulating our behaviors and setting effective limits with ourselves can feel like a daunting task. In my book The Emotional Eater''s Repair Manual , I covered these self-care skills in depth. I also covered key body-balancing principles (such as adding whole, unprocessed, plant-based foods to your eating plan and addressing body and brain imbalances) and soul-care practices (like practicing mind quieting exercises and learning to let go.) I introduced the reader to the very important self-care skill of self-connection, which simply means going inside regularly and checking in with your inner world of emotions, bodily sensations, needs and thoughts and accessing an Inner Nurturing voice capable of reassuring and comforting you and helping you meet your needs. Mindfulness Changes Your Brain and Your Response to Stress Throughout my own journey of recovery from emotional eating, I was slowly piecing together the self-care skills, body-balancing principles and soul-care practices I had been missing from childhood. And as I practiced these, I noticed that something was happening to my brain that I wouldn''t be able to articulate until years later when I began to understand the neuroscience behind the changes I had experienced. Scientific discoveries of the last twenty years have demonstrated that the mindful, self-reflective skills I was practicing were activating and connecting the self-regulatory circuits of my brain, and in so doing, actually changing the physical structure of my brain. And as new brain circuits develop and strengthen, they facilitate more adaptive responses and behaviors, creating more resilience and well-being. All of this translated into better handling of stress and less obsessive thinking and wayward eating. Through therapy and the intentional exposure to other kind souls, I began to learn the language of self-nurturance --unconditionally loving, aff

Description for Sales People

Details a comprehensive program that includes mindfulness and stress management, emotional skills, and food and eating suggestions Membership in groups such as Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, and Nutri-Systems total more than 10 million worldwide Step-by-step program developed by an author who was an emotional eater, designed to help women end the cycle of overeating

Product Details

Julie M. Simon
New World Library
Nurture Yourself Mindfully, Rewire Your Brain, and End Emotional Eating
Country of Publication
United States
Publication Date
Short Title
When Food Is Comfort