Emotions and Food: A Complex Relationship

Americans have a complex relationship with food.  We use eating for a myriad of purposes other than to simply quell hunger.  In our culture, food and eating – or not eating -- represent powerful, emotionally-laden aspects of life such as comfort and celebration, coping and suppressing, self-discipline or rebellion, control and punishment.

Unlike smoking, alcohol, and other drugs where total abstinence is possible, food is a necessity for survival.  But using food to deal with feelings – instead of dealing with your feelings directly -- can lead to one of the three primary types of eating disorders:

  • Anorexia – severe calorie restriction, exercising excessively, resulting in life threatening malnutrition
  • Bulimia – binging then purging, which creates tooth decay, many gastrointestinal disorders, nutritional deficiencies and organ damage
  • Compulsive Overeating – leads to diabetes, heart disease and more

An eating disorder is never about just liking food too much, or just wanting to look slim. There are much deeper psychological reasons at work. You could say it’s a sign of an instinct for healing that’s taken the wrong road.

The psychiatrists and psychotherapists at Midwest Wellness Center Associates Ltd. will help you uncover those reasons and assist you in retraining your choices so that you can have a healthy relationship with food and emotions.

Eating disorders may develop out of a number of precipitating factors, including experiencing or witnessing traumatic abuse or domestic violence, the aggressive hostilities of shaming or bullying, or chronic feelings of being fatally flawed or never good enough. Using the relationship with food to cope is a way of imposing order on the chaos that seems endless and unchanging.

If you are concerned about whether you might have an eating disorder, ask yourself these questions:

  • Are you preoccupied with your weight and body image?
  • Do you wear oversized clothes or layers to hide your shape?
  • Are you constantly on a diet?
  • Do you calculate the hours of exercise needed to work off a meal?
  • Are friends saying you look great, but you feel fat?
  • Have you cut calories down to less than 700 a day?
  • Are you trying to hold carbs to less than 20 grams per day?
  • Do you feel guilty, shamed or depressed after eating?
  • Does every celebration have to involve lots of food?
  • When you’re sad or frustrated do you reach for snacks?
  • Does your personal reward system revolve around food?
  • Do you eat when your body is not hungry, just because it’s mealtime?
  • When you feel scared, hurt, or lonely, do you escape by eating?
If you feel like your relationship with food and eating are out of control,
And you’d like to find out what you can do before it gets worse,
Call Midwest Wellness Center Associates Ltd. Today
Phone: 630-541-9560 (Westmont Location)
Or 773-698-6417 (Chicago Location)
We are eager to help you heal.

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Shalini Chawla, MD

Shalini Chawla, MD

Shalini Chawla, MD – Whether you need psychiatric evaluation and treatment for anxiety, depression, a mood disorder, ADHD, PTSD, or another mental health problem, as your psychiatrist, my goal is to help you get the solutions that will let you feel better fast.

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Midwest Wellness Center Associates Ltd

519 N Cass Ave.
Suite 204
Westmont, IL 60559
(630) 541-9560
(630) 541-8381

Midwest Wellness Center Associates Ltd

3000 N Halsted St
Suite 709
Chicago, IL 60657
(773) 698-6417
(773) 698-6496
American Medical AssociationIllinois Psychiatric SocietyAmerican Academy of Child and Adolescent PsychiatryChicago Medical SocietyNational Alliance of Social WorkersPsychology TodayAmerican Psychiatric AssociationAdvocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center
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Have Any Questions?
Contact us now with any questions for an immediate response