Can Anger Possibly Put on Weight? (Article)

By Dr. Patricia Carrington

I’m sure you’ve heard it said that boredom can put on weight. People are known to eat unwisely when they are bored. You’ve also probably heard that being anxious can put on weight. People often eat comfort foods to calm themselves.

But – feelings of ANGER? What can anger possibly have to do with overeating and putting on unwanted pounds?

Actually, it has everything to do with it. Trying to get rid of anger by stuffing food into your mouth is one of the most common causes of what is called Emotional Overeating. For that reason it’s one of the most common causes of being overweight.

Consider this. When an animal is angry, what does it do? That’s right; most animals try to bite into the enemy animal. Its instinct is to sink its teeth into an enemy.

But what do we humans do when we are angry? We don’t usually sink our teeth into our enemy – we’ve come a ways during the millions of years we’ve been evolving on this earth – but we usually want to at least yell at the person or else we try to stuff down our feelings and pretend (even to ourselves) that we are not ANGRY.

And yet, no matter how hard we try to hide our rage, our ancient heritage shows. We may conceal our angry feelings openly from ourselves or others, but the instinct to bite when angry is still strong and we often take it out on innocent crunchy food. We bite down with all our might on the offending crackling potato chip or pretzel, or whatever crunch food is at hand.

Clinical observations have shown that angry people actually need to crush something with their teeth, and all too often this something will end up adding weight to their bodies.

Given the truth of this, what can we do about it? We may become angry at our boss, our spouse, our in-laws, or the policeman at the corner who has given us a ticket, but provided we don’t decide to sock him/her in the jaw, or scream four letter words at them, what can we do about this overwhelming urge to get revenge?

We can either crunch on some unwanted food, or we can recognize and express our anger in a more healthy and constructive way. Here’s an example of how one person did this:

The Angry Adult Child

Claudia regularly talks with her mother on the phone every week, after which she inevitably goes straight to the refrigerator. “I’ve got to stop eating so much sugar!” She tells herself; only she doesn’t stop. The cake is right in front of her and is much too tempting to resist, even though she just finished a full lunch.

Claudia’s culprit is anger toward her mother. Unfortunately, expressing her anger openly to her mother has always blown up in her face. Her mother begins to cry and refuses to have an adult conversation about their problems. So, in order to deal with this and maintain a good relationship, Claudia has learned to suppress her anger toward her mother and pretend it doesn’t exist. Cake and other “comfort foods” have helped Claudia keep the anger subdued – hidden from her own awareness.

Claudia always knew how frustrating her mother could be, but it took a long time to connect her food binges to her mother’s weekly phone call. The problem eventually escalated to the point where Claudia turned to food at the mere thought of her mother.

Claudia needed to find a constructive outlet for her anger that didn’t add inches to her waistline and keep her enslaved to unhealthy eating habits!

Does this sound easier said than done? It’s actually a simple matter of becoming aware of the anger and stopping it before the habit of seeking comfort from food takes hold.

For Claudia, this was more easily said than done until her diet counselor

EFT Choices Method Manual, by Dr. Patricia Carrington

introduced her to a simple strategy called “Meridian Tapping” or “EFT”. After practicing EFT, Claudia’s feelings of anger toward her mother were soon transformed and her wild urges to grab for food, as she had done before, simply vanished. And with them went her weight problem. Claudia began to lose the unwanted pounds, easily and without any hassle.

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