Monday, April 20, 2009
Medical Reports: Emotional Eating
If you've been battling weight for years and dieting and exercise haven't worked, there could be an underlying problem. Many use food to numb their emotions and pain and don't even realize it. Seven's Diana Diaz shows us how one doctor is helping people stop Emotional Eating.
WSVN -- At more than 400 pounds, Cynthia Mandel thought gastric bypass surgery would be the answer to a lifetime battle with obesity.
Cynthia Mandel: "The gastric bypass was a last resort."
But soon after the surgery, she gained back a lot of the weight.
Cynthia Mandel: "I didn't really realize that was not going to be the cure. It wasn't until I started to gain the weight back that I had to look for another answer."
Ailene Rogers' weight problem was not as dramatic. Like many, she was always dieting and the pounds would come and go.
Ailene Rogers: "I did this for years and years, and every time I lost weight, and every time I gained it back."
Finally, she knew she needed a different approach.
Ailene Rogers: "I decided I would treat this much in the same way as if I had an alcohol problem, drug problem. I wouldn't try to do it on my own."
Both women were directed to Jupiter psychologist Michael Lukens who specializes in emotional eating.
Dr. Michael Lukens: "Emotional eating, in some respects, is any eating that isn't motivated by physical hunger."
Dr. Lukens believes some people feed their feelings and often eat to numb pain instead of dealing with it.
Dr. Michael Lukens: "In the course of our lives, particularly when we are young and vulnerable, something happens some sort of painful or adverse event that causes overwhelming painful emotional experience. They can't deal with it, so they find a behavior, such as eating, that manages the pain."
He's created a three-day program called "I Eat," where he helps people recognize the signs of emotional eating and learn what triggers this behavior.
Dr. Michael Lukens: "'What makes me tick?' They answer this question, and they become so much clearer next time there is a craving."
Cynthia Mandel: "When you're traumatized, you just eat to numb yourself. I didn't deal with anything; I ate."
The three-day workshop is intense. You'll spend eight hours a day in a room with several people and the doctor. During this time, you'll be asked to re-live and confront the things past and present that hurt you the most.
Dr. Michael Lukens: "They're going to visit the most painful experiences in their life, and they're going to do it in a group."
The idea is to deal with the pain there and then learn to feel instead of eating to numb in daily life.
Ailene Rogers: "He really helped me to see that I was making the choice to eat instead of to deal with whatever had crept up. I was responding to things in my past, I was responding to everyday stressors."
Since the workshop, both Ailene and Cynthia have dropped weight without dieting. They say, food has lost it's power.
Cynthia Mandel: "I don't need food to numb myself. If I am upset about something. I feel my feelings. They're not always great to be feeling them, but that's what you have to do if you want to be a happy person."
Diana Diaz: "The 'I Eat' workshop costs $2,500, but some insurance companies are now paying for it."
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Dr. Michael Lukens
561-825-1010 or 877-744-1169