EMDR Therapy and Weight Loss

There are so many things out there that say will help you with weight loss. Why is it that most things don’t change for long? It is because the emotional connection to food is HUGE! Our emotional connection to food begins in infancy. We were often given food when we cried because no one knew what we were trying to communicate. As babies and children, we inherently know when we need food. We push food away when we aren’t hungry unless there is something else going on. For many people, food became a powerful tool to soothe uncomfortable emotions. This is particularly true with trauma. If we were abused, neglected or deprived in any way, food may have been the only thing we could control or use to take the pain away temporarily. In our office, we specialize in emotional barriers to weight loss. Typically those barriers include emotional eating due to some sort of trauma. While trauma can include the abuse, neglect and deprivation mentioned above, it occurs on a spectrum. Trauma just refers to an experience that hasn’t been fully processed and continues to create some distress, so the emotional situation that set your relationship with food may not be very apparent. It could have been something that doesn’t seem like much of a big deal now, but when you were younger, it was probably pretty powerful. If food took the pain away then, you started to learn that it was soothing. The more you used it to cope, the more powerful it became.

So, what is EMDR therapy? EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. While they aren’t fully certain how it works, it seems like it stimulates the brain like REM sleep. REM sleep is the sleep state in which we dream which is how our brain processes experiences. By utilizing EMDR therapy, we can allow the brain to process painful experiences so they don’t continue to create distress. If there isn’t a known trauma, we can use specialized protocols to target addictive and compulsive behaviors like emotional eating. By targeting the emotional connection to food, we can reduce the intensity and the desire to eat when we aren’t hungry. By utilizing this process along with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to challenge self-defeating thoughts and negative self-talk, we can help you change your relationship with food and stop sabotaging your weight loss efforts!

Michelle Lewis

Michelle Lewis

Michelle Lewis has a Bachelor's degree in Psychology from Weber State University and a Master's degree in Social Work from the University of Utah. She has been working in the mental health field since 2001.
Michelle Lewis

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