The Neuroscience of Food Addiction

My colleague, Dr. Susan Peirce Thompson, is a tenured psychology professor with a Ph.D. in Brain and Cognitive Sciences. For sixteen years she struggled with her relationship with food.

She dieted again and again, binged on cookie dough, was clinically depressed, and in her darkest hours she would lie in the fetal position and pray for her weight issue to be removed.

Then, in 2003, she discovered a solution that allowed her to shed all her excess weight. That was over 12 years ago, and she’s now among the top .01% of successful weight loss maintainers.

For years now Susan has been teaching her findings in her college course on the Psychology of Eating, and spending all of her spare time helping people one-on-one to get “Happy, Thin, and Free.”

Last year, in her morning meditation, it came to her that there are millions more who need this information. She decided to create a free video series to share the truth about the psychology and neuroscience of weight loss and food freedom.

So if you’re wondering why it’s so difficult to eat the foods you know are healthy, if you can’t figure out why you are still drawn to junk food, or if you need something to make it all click into place, you don’t want to miss this.

The key lies in understanding the neuroscience of food cravings. Just two little words make all the difference. Susan explains it beautifully.

 

Click here to get her complimentary video now.

Food Addiction Video

 

 

Food Addiction Quiz

We know more about diet and health than any population in the history of the world. Yet most of us are overweight or obese. Why?

According to the latest research, it turns out that many of us are literally addicted to food. Are you?

Dr. Susan Peirce Thompson has developed a free quiz to help you find out how susceptible you are to food addiction.

Click here to take it now.

After the quiz, Susan will give you your score and a customized Food Freedom video to help you understand what it means for your life.

How you respond to sweet, snacky foods is deeply linked to your level of susceptibility.

In 2015, Dr. Susan helped people lose 43,00 pounds, and GAIN Food Freedom.

The first step is knowing how susceptible you are to the pull of addictive foods. Take her free quiz and find out how you score.

Beyond Eating Audio Course

Beyond Eating Audio CourseI am very excited to announce the Beyond Eating Audio Course.

It lays out a three-pronged model for helping people with food-related issues. The course will help you with food addiction, weight-related anxiety, and the hopelessness that comes from managing one’s relationship with food.

The program focuses on:

  • Understanding hunger
  • Identifying the parts of you that arise around food and developing a healing relationship with them
  • Developing self-nurturing practices

The package consists of:

  • 2 introductory tracks
  • 8 lecture tracks
  • 11 meditation tracks
  • 4 therapy session demonstration tracks
  • 1 Word document with homework, articles, graphics and forms.

It is linked with our on-line community of other journeyers where you can find support and homework partners.

It is geared toward deepening your understanding of your relationship with food and eating, and in addition, it has the potential to affect your sense of yourself in profound ways.

My wish is that you come away with more compassion for yourself, the ability to stand more separately from your parts, a greater capacity for making healthy choices, and a deeper sense of your own preciousness.

Bonnie Weiss, LCSW ♥


C05-Beyond-Eating-Audio-Course-1Click here for more information or to purchase it.

Do You Understand Why You Overeat?

Understand your emotional eatingUnderstand Why You Overeat

  • Do you overeat to soothe yourself when you are upset?
  • Have you tried to diet but always gain it back?
  • Do you feel like food is the only love you get?
  • Do you sit down to have a couple of cookies and then finish the whole box?
  • Do you obsess about food way too much?
  • Do you feel ashamed of yourself after going on a binge?

Explore the Underlying Psychology of Your Emotional Eating and How to Change It

This probably means that you are overeating for psychological reasons. The Overeating Psychology Quiz will help you to understand what they are, so you can work through these issues and change your eating patterns.

Your overeating may be driven by fears, defenses, and inner conflicts that you are only partially aware of, which are your psychological motivations for overeating. This quiz will help you to understand these motivations and what to do about them.

Using Self-Therapy Journey to Stop Overeating – Special Amazon Offer

  • Using Self-Therapy Journey to Stop OvereatingDo you overeat to soothe yourself when you are upset?
  • When you diet, do you always gain back the weight?
  • Is food the only love you get?
  • When you intend to eat just a couple cookies, do you finish the whole box?
  • Is most of your day spent obsessing about food?
  • Do you feel ashamed of yourself after going on a binge?

This is most likely because of emotional eating. There is good news! You can transform this pattern and develop healthy eating habits.

Self-Therapy Journey is an interactive online tool for psychological healing and transformation, which has a module for overeating.

With Self-Therapy Journey you can…

  • Stop eating when you are full.
  • Know the difference between your hunger and your other needs.
  • Eat a healthy diet.
  • Lose weight — and keep it off!
  • Be relaxed about food.
  • Be slim, healthy, and attractive

Using Self-Therapy Journey to Stop Overeating shows how this online tool works and how to use it to change your eating—for good!

The Kindle version of Using Self-Therapy Journey to Stop Overeating is free on Amazon June 24-26.  http://www.amazon.com/Using-Self-Therapy-Journey-Stop-Overeating-ebook/dp/B00K5SW6PE/

A Story of the Indulger and Food Controller Patterns

Jay Earley, PhD, and Bonnie Weiss, LCSW

Slim and athletic as a child, Arlene gradually put on weight in her teens and it steadily increased as she had children and then became a single mom. When she was eating, she couldn’t really tell when she was full. She kept feeling like she was actually hungry for more, but then after she ate more, she felt stuffed. In addition, she frequently binged on certain comfort foods, and she had a hard time stopping when she was eating. This is her Indulger Pattern.

Anything she tried–diets, programs, starvation, cleanses–were only stopgap measures. Anything lost was gained back and then some. She felt horrible abfood controllerout herself!

She always heard a nagging voice inside, her Food Controller Critic. It said, “You are fat and lazy, and so terribly inadequate. No one will ever love you, and that’s because you don’t deserve to be loved.”

When she began a counseling program, her fellow students and supervisors were always pointing out to her that she tried so hard to be “the good girl.” But this was to no avail. She could never feel good enough. “I never just felt like it was alright to be me.”

Arlene was always hearing the voice of her Food Controller berating her for being fat, for failing to lose weight. Whenever she went on a binge it was especially cruel and shaming. And its judgments went beyond her eating habits. It told her that she was worthless and unlovable.

This didn’t help her to stop bingeing. In fact, it did the opposite. She felt a need to eat to comfort herself when she felt so bad. But this just triggered a binge, which was followed by more attacks from her Food Controller.

You can work on transforming both these patterns in Self-Therapy Journey.

The Food Controller Pattern: Volunteers Needed for Testing Application

by: Bonnie Weiss, LCSW

The Food Controller tries to regulate your eating when it thinks it isn’t good for you or might be dangerous.

It believes that without its efforts, you will be out of control and ruin your life. This can result in being obsessed with food, worrying about your weight and your figure, feeling bad about your eating habits, going on diets, making resolutions, or feeling shame about lapses in meeting your eating goals.

The Food Controller may be rigid and punitive. It may have fixed and precise standards for how you should eat. The biggest problem may be that the Food Controller Inner Critic tries to enforce these standards by attacking and shaming you when you fail to measure up to them. Even if the Food Controller wants what’s best for you, it often goes about this in a harsh, punitive way. It may have learned this strategy from the way your parents tried to control you as a child.

Your Food Controller may be activated even if your eating isn’t out of line. You may feel as though you are fighting a chronic battle with someone who doesn’t see you. This kind of Food Controller has an unrealistic view of who you are or the danger of your impulses. It may attack you for really enjoying your food or for occasionally eating too much. Or even if you are somewhat impulsive with food, your Food Controller may react in a way that is much more harsh, punitive, and rigid than is needed. Your culture may have an unreasonable ideal of thinness, and this can result in feeling that you have to rigidly control your normal impulses. In this case, your Food Controller may work against what is natural and healthy for you.

On the other hand, your Food Controller might be reacting to an out-of-control Indulger Pattern that is having a damaging effect on your life. There may be a real need to moderate your eating, for the sake of your health or your appearance, but with the Food Controller Pattern, this is done in a harsh, shaming way rather than a constructive way. It may make you feel really bad about yourself whenever you binge. Paradoxically, this often stimulates a need for self-soothing, which is often done by more eating. So often the judgmental strategy that the Food Controller uses actually backfires and makes things worse.

For the last three years, we have been developing a web application, Self-Therapy Journey, where people can get help in transforming psychological problems. It is like an interactive self-help book, based on the Pattern System and IFS. It should be ready to launch by Nov.

Right now we are looking for people who have one of two very specific issues to volunteer in trying it out. We are looking for people who either (1) are depressed, or (2) are overly critical of themselves about eating issues. (click here for the depressed pattern). (Later we will be looking for volunteers on other issues.)

You will be able to learn about your Food Controller Pattern, its underlying motivation, and where it comes from in your past. You will get a customized report about all these things based on what you enter in the application, which means that you can also use this application for guided journaling. You will also be able to set up a life practice to activate the healthy capacity to replace your pattern. That would be Pleasure (for the Food Controller). The application will provide you with online support in carrying out the practice.

If you are interested in volunteering, email me at  earley.jay@gmail.com. Let me know (1) your phone number, (2) what time zone you are in, and (3) which of the two patterns you want to work on. We want to try out the application on a variety of different people, so please also let me know (4) if you are a therapist and (5) whether you are familiar with IFS.

We may have more volunteers than we can use, so you may not hear from us for a while, but we nonetheless appreciate your volunteering.

For more information about the Pattern System, please visit http://PatternSystem.com

Overeating, Foggy Testers Needed for Self-Therapy Journey

Jay Earley, PhD and Bonnie Weiss, LCSW

For the last two and a half years, Jay has been developing a web application, Self-Therapy Journey, where people can get help in transforming psychological problems.

It is like an interactive self-help book, based on the Pattern System and IFS. It should be ready by fall 2013.

We would like to try out an early version of the application with people who are willing to use it while Bonnie follows along by phone/computer or gets feedback from you afterward. We want to get feedback on how it works for you and what needs to be fixed or improved.

Soon people will be able to use the application to work on a wide variety of different psychological issues. However, right now we are looking for people who have one of two very specific issues to volunteer in trying it out. We are looking for people who either (1) tend to overeat, or (2) get foggy, spaced out, and confused at times. (Later we will be looking for volunteers on other issues, and in September we will want people to test the whole application.)

You will be able to learn about your Indulger or Foggy Pattern, its underlying motivation, and where it comes from in your past. You will get a customized report about all these things based on what you enter in the application, which means that you can also use this application for guided journaling. You will also be able to set up a life practice to activate the healthy capacity to replace your pattern. That would be either Conscious Consumption (for the Indulger Pattern) or Clarity (for the Foggy Pattern). The application will provide you with online support in carrying out the practice.

If you are interested in volunteering, email Bonnie at bonnieweiss@gmail.com. Let her know

  1. your phone number,
  2. what time zone you are in, and
  3. which of those two patterns you would like to test. We want to try out the application on a variety of different people, so please also let her know
  4.  if you are a therapist and
  5. whether you are familiar with IFS.

We may have more volunteers than we can use right away, so you may not hear from us for a while.

Please read: A Story of the Indulger and Foggy Patterns

For more information about The Pattern System(TM) please visit http://patternsystem.com

A Story of the Indulger and Foggy Patterns

Jay Earley, PhD and Bonnie Weiss, LCSW

This is the story of someone who had both the Indulger and Foggy Patterns. It shows how they interact with a number of her other patterns as well.

Jennifer was always committed to working on herself. She has been in therapy on and off since she was a teenager, focusing on family issues and conflicts around food.  Now in her 40’s, she says she is generally satisfied with her weight and a reasonably healthy life style.

Even so, she is bothered by an Indulger Part that occasionally engages in secret binge eating. “I just zone out and find myself eating things I don’t want to. It’s maddening.” The zoning out comes from her Foggy Pattern.

She is also concerned with her chronic inability to do productive work on herself to make the changes that she wants. She says, “I always start out with the best intentions, with some new tool, a diet, a book, a new way of exploring my issues, and then I get lost, distracted, and can’t even remember what I was planning to do for myself. It is so frustrating. It’s like I go into a fog and completely lose track of myself.”

Her husband travels a great deal for business. “When he is away, I can live my life and be more attentive to my own needs. When he comes home, I am, of course, excited to see him, and for a few days I am fine. Then I start focusing too much on him, and I lose contact with myself. My mind gets cloudy and I begin my secret eating.” This is a collusion between her Caretaking, Foggy, and Indulger Patterns. She continues, “Then when he leaves, I am lonely and I binge eat for a few days until I re-establish my own balance. Then I am OK again.” This is her Dependent and Indulger Patterns.

When she explored this set of patterns further, she said, “I guess it is also the same with friends. They expect me to take care of them, to be generous and soothing and available any time. And I am. But when that happens, I lose sight of my self and self-care goes out the window. I get foggy and I give away time that I was going to take for myself. I agree to go out to eat in places that are not good for me. I stay on the phone too long, and find myself eating things I shouldn’t while I listen.  It’s like I get lost. I can’t remember who I am or what I am trying to do.” This is again her Foggy Pattern in service of her Caretaking Pattern.

The other thing she is uncomfortable about is her friends teasing her about her food conflicts. She wonders. “How did this happen? I try to be so kind to them and they feel free to tease me about my constant conflicts about whether I can allow myself a cookie. I know it sounds funny, but I do get hurt. And when I think I should say something to them, I chicken out or forget about it.”

This is her Foggy Pattern in service of her Conflict-Avoiding Pattern.

For more information about The Pattern System(TM) please visit http://patternsystem.com

We are currently seeking testers for a new web application, Self-Therapy Journey, where people can get help in transforming psychological problems. It is like an interactive self-help book, based on the Pattern System and IFS. It should be ready by fall 2013.  For more information please visit: Overeating, Foggy Testers Needed for Self-Therapy Journey

 

The Foggy Part and Eating Issues

Bonnie Weiss, LCSW

There are a number of distinct parts that typically show up in clients with eating issues. They are most often tangled in a way that make them hard to distinguish and therefore work with.  Of course, not everyone has all of these parts, and we try not to rectify them by giving them specific names. However, naming their functions often unlocks deeper understanding. It allows movement on previously difficult emotional issues and shifts in historically stuck behaviors.The Foggy Part is the part that causes a lapse in conscious awareness of your relationship to yourself and what is going on at the moment or what has just happened. It manifests as dullness, confusion, blankness, emptiness, or an absent-minded feeling. Sometimes the Foggy Part can just muck up and confuse things so it feels like you have lost the thread of a conversation. At other times, it appears as complete dissociation, where actual time is lost and you experience having left the room or left your body.In my Beyond Eating classes, this is an especially important part for people to identify. It provides clarity about a number of very frustrating experiences. When you can name this part, appreciate its function, and develop a working relationship with it, the work opens and there is often significant movement.

How the Foggy Part Manifests

1. As your Indulger Part (the part that overeats) takes over, the Foggy Part may cause you to dissociate and loose consciousness of what you are eating, how much you have consumed, or when you have passed the “full” point. You may lose sensation in your body and fail to feel, for a while, the impact of eating large amounts of food.

2. As you work on yourself to explore your internal system, your Foggy Part may confuse things, cause you to loose track of what you are feeling or working on so you can’t productively follow the thread of your inquiry. This Foggy Part seems invested in keeping the system in place and not allowing any consciousness that would threaten change. You may suddenly feels lost, silly, embarrassed, or distracted. You can’t remember what you were talking about or why you were bothering to talk about it in the first place.

3. The Foggy Part defends against awareness of deep conflicts around self-care. If you have a strong People-Pleasing Part that focuses attention on others rather than yourself, you may give other people the nurturing they need while ignoring your own needs. Your Foggy Part may prevent you from being aware of yourself while around others, and you may get confused and muddled if asked what you want. Your Foggy Part may be protecting a Vulnerable Part whose needs were not met when you were a child. It expects that if those needs were brought out into the open today they would ignored again.

4. The Foggy Part creates a smoke screen that makes dealing with eating-related issues impossible. If you have a Helpless Part that believes that you can’t change, the fog may roll in and distract or confuse you to keep you from exploring this part. The Foggy Part seems to be holding your system in place. Change may be threatening while helplessness is known and safe. The Fog keeps you from exposing deeper needs, vulnerabilities, and trauma that it thinks are too dangerous.