Depression, Loneliness, and the Road to Unhealthy Eating
How to manage unhealthy eating habits when loneliness strikes.
When you’re feeling depressed, it really can feel so much worse when you’re sitting there all alone, without anyone else to talk to, and especially at night. (Have you ever noticed that your depression feels worse after the sun goes down?)
How do I know this? I’ve been there before! I’ve also had the personal experience of how the feel-bad state of depression easily leads to emotional eating, food addiction, and binge eating.
Why does depression and unhealthy eating flow together so seamlessly? Because the out-of-control eating is an attempt to feel better emotionally.
The problem with this line of action is the emotional relief from eating only lasts for a few minutes, while the hopelessness of the depression lasts long term unless consistent action steps are implemented to transform the emotional state, which can be done. My weight loss coaching clients have done it and so have I.
What’s interesting about the flow of depression, being alone, and overeating is that most think they are depressed because they are overweight and alone.
I believe “overweight and alone” is the result of the depression. The feel-bad emotional state of depression comes first, which fuels the behaviors, which creates the results of isolation, overweight, and being alone, which bring us back to the question… why does depression feel so much worse when you’re alone?
Why depression feels so much worse when you’re alone.
It’s very simple: when you’re hanging out with friends, on a date, or in a relationship, it’s easier to get distracted from your depressive thoughts. That’s it!
Check this out, it’s very important: when you break out of your isolation, even if it’s just going for a walk around the block, it’s easy to get distracted momentarily from your depressive patterns of thought.
The big secret I’m sharing with you here is that the depressing feelings all begin with a thought. It’s your habits of thinking that must change in order to find relief from the depression.
This is what the majority of folks who are taking antidepressants are missing: unless you have a daily practice to transform your feel-bad patterns of thinking, then taking antidepressants rarely does anything to transform the state of depression (unless one has a serious chemical imbalance, which only a doctor can verify).
What my coaching clients have taught me.
Based on my experience, here’s what I’ve learned: I’ve had way too many permanent weight loss coaching clients who were on antidepressants before working with me.
Not only were they taking anti-depressants, but they were also out-of-control with binge eating, emotional eating, food addiction, and negative self-talk while living in a consistent state of self-doubt, hopelessness, fear, and depression.
While working with me, these same clients ended up getting off of their anti-depressants (with their doctor’s approval) because they did the steps to heal the real problem, steps which start with transforming your patterns of thought.
Prior to working with me, nothing was changing in their emotional state (or their overweight) by taking anti-depressants because it’s the mindset, the thoughts, the beliefs, and the habits of thought that must transform in order to fully break free of the depression, and the overweight.
These things do not transform with a pill, unfortunately. Habits of thought can only be transformed by you taking consistent action to change them.
Is this making sense? What I’m saying is that the solution to your depressing feelings is not to find a guy to get into a relationship with so that you’re not alone and can be distracted from your depressive thoughts. That would only serve as a short-term fix.
The real solution, the solution that works long term is to take daily action to change your habit of thinking, release your limiting beliefs, and get a new mindset. That is the solution to end depression (again, unless one has a serious chemical imbalance, as noted above).
A great place to start:
A great place to start is by becoming aware of exactly what you are thinking that has you feeling so bad.
Here’s a super clear example: For many of my coaching clients, prior to working with me they had a habit of thinking a stream of thoughts like, “I’m a failure, I’ll never lose weight, I can’t stop eating, I can’t stop binge eating, no one wants me, I’m a mess and I don’t belong”.
Shit man! This habit of thought would make anyone feel depressed!! But can you see that this is what creates the depression?
What’s worse is that these streams of habitual thinking run on autopilot for the majority of folks because they are not consciously aware of what they are thinking. They’ve been doing it so long that it’s simply easier to take the route of the “stinkin’ thinkin'”. In fact, the brain makes it easy for you to keep taking that route!
Just because you’ve done it so long it’s the easiest road for your brain to take. It doesn’t mean you’re a bad person, not at all.
It just means that you’re stuck in a rut of habitual thinking… which leads to a habitual state of emotion… which leads to a habitual state of behaviors… which creates the body and the life you are living and will continue to live unless you take action to shake it up and do things very differently.
Raise your awareness.
With that being said, let’s get back to the exercise in awareness to start with now: decide to start now, to raise your awareness consistently in your day-to-day life of the specific thoughts you are thinking that are making you feel so bad.
Use pen and paper to write them down.
The simple act of discovering your feel-bad thoughts and then writing them down pen on paper will result in bring your depressing thinking out of the swirling mist of your mind and help you see it more clearly when it’s written on paper.
You cannot change what you are not aware of.
Become a detective of your own mind.
Choose to become a detective of your own mind and I bet you’ll discover that if you’re feeling hopeless and depressed, then you’re thinking hopeless and depressing thoughts. Any thought can be changed but first, you must become aware of what you are thinking.
Beyond this starter step, the quickest and easiest way to feel better long term, release your habits of negative thoughts, stop overeating, and get fit forever is to work with a high-level coach who already has the proven step-by-step system in place that heals the root of the problem and sets you free.
Just imagine how you would feel a year from now if you were really feeling good about yourself the majority of the time.
And while it’s unrealistic to expect to get to a place where you always feel great, what if a year from now you were able to feel negative emotion without using food to feel better? What if you could feel negative emotions without staying there long term? How cool would that be!
To Sum Up
Remember that depression is driven by a thought. Once you have a series of negative thoughts formed into a habit of negative thought and that habit of thought is running on autopilot, it’s extremely easy to stay depressed and yes, it does feel worse when you’re alone.
But even if you were to get into a relationship so that you’d be distracted from your negative habits of thought, that relationship wouldn’t fix your depression.
The “fix” to your depression will be found within you and it starts with your thoughts. The mind leads the body; if the mind is running a depressing line of thinking in the background of your day-to-day life then it’s easy to stay depressed.
Change your thinking to change your emotional state to change your behaviors, transform your life, your relationships, and your body. This can be done. I’ve done it myself and so have my coaching clients.
But start now — this is your life and there’s no time to waste. Don’t you agree?
This guest article originally appeared on YourTango.com: Why Feeling Depressed And Alone Leads Us To Emotional Eating.
Guest Author, P. (2018). Depression, Loneliness, and the Road to Unhealthy Eating. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 31, 2020, from https://psychcentral.com/blog/depression-loneliness-and-the-road-to-unhealthy-eating/