Mind
When food helps manage emotions – Report of the event

When food helps manage emotions – Report of the event

Report of the free event of July 27th I eat that passes me… when food helps me manage my emotions promoted by the Center for Personality Disorders of Modena

 

Emotions are fundamental processes that have multiple functions: first of all, an adaptive function, that is, they guide and protect from dangers, secondly a social and communicative function and, finally, a motivational function. There are different ways of regulating negative emotions, including food, the ingestion of which can increase, reaching a consoling function or decrease in an attempt to regain control of a difficult situation.

If polarized, the relationship between food and emotions can become dysfunctional; some risk factors in this direction are represented by cultural pressure towards thinness and prejudices towards obesity (for example, obese people eat more). Another factor is attachment history, as the very first bonds with other people affect how subsequent relationships will be perceived and managed. In fact, if for example every time a child cries he is offered food, growing up he could learn that this is the only way to manage negative emotions and consequently develop a dysfunctional relationship with food. Finally, various personological characteristics may be present that favor the development of a dysfunctional relationship with food, including an excessive preoccupation with weight and fitness; a deficit of self-esteem that leads to over-investing the body appearance, considering it the main aspect of one’s personal fulfillment; a deficit of self-awareness, i.e. not being able to give a name to the emotions felt; perfectionistic traits, i.e. evaluating oneself on the basis of achieving demanding self-imposed standards; a dichotomous thought, consisting in the tendency to go to extremes in everything or nothing (for example: I didn’t follow the diet perfectly so we might as well eat everything); impulsive traits. that is, not being able to name the emotions experienced; perfectionistic traits, i.e. evaluating oneself based on the achievement of demanding self-imposed standards; a dichotomous thought, consisting in the tendency to go to extremes in everything or nothing (for example: I did not follow the diet perfectly so we might as well eat everything); impulsive traits. that is, not being able to name the emotions experienced; perfectionistic traits, i.e. evaluating oneself on the basis of achieving demanding self-imposed standards; a dichotomous thought, consisting in the tendency to go to extremes in everything or nothing (for example: I did not follow the diet perfectly so we might as well eat everything); impulsive traits.

As with emotions, the functions of food are also varied and consist of: an instrument of oblivion (‘food helps me not to think about how bad I am’); a way to assert one’s independence (‘food and weight are the only thing I control’); a source of gratification or consolation (‘when I eat it’s the only time of day for me’); finally, it performs a social function (we go out to eat together, it is a moment of sharing).

When a person realizes that he has a dysfunctional relationship with food and emotions, what he can do is, first of all, accept the problem and ask for help from a professional, who will support him in achieving greater awareness and developing a solid motivation for change. In addition, it can slow down, listening to your body with the related signals of hunger and satiety (mindfulness) and, ultimately, maintain regular rhythms of nutrition, sleep-wakefulness and pleasant activities carried out during the day.

 

FOOD AND EMOTIONS – Watch the full video of the event: