Healthy Living LIVE with Dr. Doug Lisle on Emotional Eating

Healthy Living LIVE with Dr. Doug Lisle on Emotional Eating

Dr. Doug Lisle, co-author of The Pleasure Trap, discusses his view on emotional eating. His website is Dr. Lisle, along with Dr. Neal …


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  1. Dragonomics

    Hm….you know, its kinda odd taking a stance where you're basically saying overeating based on emotional states is not a real thing. I get the idea that yes, your environment plays a role in your overeating issue, certainly if you have access to poor food choices you are bound to make a bad pick. However, you cannot control every environment you find yourself in and you cannot simply willpower yourself through every situation. If it was that simple there would be a horde of psychologists championing addiction as merely a mental weakness, and overeating is fundamentally an addiction and should be treated as such. Nobody tells a drug addict that they are simply lacking strong mental fortitude to make good choices. You treat them as a clinical patient with a curable disease. We are emotive creatures and express our internal states in a myriad of ways as the ego is looking to cope with a situation it finds either euphoric or stressful. Food can be a reward, food can be a punishment, food can be a coping device, but its use is rooted in the mind. Making excuses as to why you did something are often symptoms of a psychological issue that should not be dealt with superficially, but using will power and environment controls do not have a good track record of being effective means when used alone. In conjunction with other methods, perhaps therapy, but by themselves? Nah. You will continue to overeat, or do whatever thing you find yourself addicted to, if no work is done to deal with the emotional stress and the psychological issues. To be blunt about it, overeating is absolutely emotionally triggered and even if it appears emotion is not present on the surface that is not an indication of internal emotional states. You cannot judge a person's emotional state by just looking at them. Its not that simple, and bear in mind we are also privy to our behaviors and emotions being affected by more things we cannot control: natural animalistic behaviors and forms of childhood trauma. All of this works its way into crafting an addiction. I wish it was as simple as willing yourself to not do something or to purge emotions, but surprise! Its not.

  2. Alicia B Atherton

    Dr Lisle or AJ, can you do a YouTube on fertility and reproductive health on this diet? Is it appropriate? There's much media on benefits of high fat diet reducing inflammation to promote fertility and good brain development. You're awesome! πŸ‘πŸΌπŸ™πŸΌπŸ˜˜

  3. Shanthi reddy

    Please keep doing these AJ. They are very informative. I can listen to Doug Lisle all day long. There are so many of us that benefit from this positive reinforcement over and over. I do listen to these over and over, keeps me on track. This session is empowering, totally different perspective. I have gone out and bought something i craved if it is not available at home. I need to find coping mechanisms for this behavior.

  4. Angela 7

    This is such an amazing topic! Thank you both always putting out such mind blowing information. AJ I love how honest you are! Listening to Dr Lisle, this really puts everything into perspective. I need to stop focusing on the past and just focus on the future and stop the blaming game. I am the one putting crap in my mouth. You can use anything as an excuse to please your mind into doing anything you want.

  5. Duska Poljak

    Dear Chef AJ I think you are both right, you and Dr. Lisle. Hard emotional times do not cause overeating by definition, however, overeating is numbing our feelings and senses (plus the short term high) and is being used as a coping mechanism by many during those hard emotional times. So the relationship is not strictly causal, which if I understood correctly Dr. Lisle was saying. And you were saying that there is a relationship, and definitely there is one, but it is not strictly causal as some people might end up reacting differently during hard times e.g. they might boycott eating or do immerse themselves in work or something else. Great interview. Thanks you.

  6. SeventiesGirl

    When someone dies and you are sad, your priorities may change and then all your meal plans and even caring about your weight can go out the window. Of course it's not the actual grief you're "wearing", but putting on weight or losing weight can be a symptom that there's grief in your life and you're not looking after yourself because of it.

  7. Ix O

    Just my two cents from my own experience:
    I do feel like, other than lisle says, it is possible for everyone to achieve basic healthy eating – but, and here I agree, always at a given time to a certain degree. And this is, and here I agree as well, because people have time pressure and always strive towards doing stuff 100% right from one second to another – which is, of course, impossible.
    I think if people focused more on going one step at a time without the need of having 100% right now they would succeed much more often, much easier, and eventually end up doing everything they thought was impossible in a span of about 5 years.
    And I emphasize here how important coping mechanisms are for this (as in the example with the alcoholic) because these have to be programmed neurologically and this takes time.
    And also not beating oneself up when slipping due to the resulting downwards spiral…

    Very interesting stance on the topic, very inspiring!
    Made me skip my trip to the (vegan) ice cream store πŸ˜‰

  8. ispeak vegan

    When people are having pain and discomfort, emotional or otherwise, they want to feel better. Food is a shortcut to feeling good. Foods which stimulate the pleasure center of the brain are sought out. It doesn't have to be in your pantry. As soon as you walk out the door it's available everywhere. Is the term "emotional eating" becoming like the term "climate change" now; wherein, for a particular agenda, it is 'denied'? Are there now "emotional eating" deniers? I know for a fact that people use food for comfort, stress management, and self-medicating. Yes, the perverse environment is a factor in the choices of the food made by the individual seeking the shortcut to feeling better. However, it doesn't have to be "shit" that is sought out in an attempt to sooth our "shitty mood". It could be nuts and honey. Just anything that will give the biggest dopamine burst. We could also seek after a childhood dish that our family always had in order to obtain a feeling of comfort and temporary relief from an uncomfortable, stressful period. I don't believe there is no such thing as "emotional eating".

    And I'll add, the foul language used by the 'professional' speakers is degrading and sheds a negative light on the credibility and maturity of the professional. It appears to be a 'resorting' of sorts. If you just make sense when you are trying to convince your listeners on certain concepts, you really don't need to resort to foul language.

  9. forisma

    Emotions are prescriptions for behavior
    If you are depressed: go cry and see some friend whether this friend has a solution
    Emotions are signalling devices designed by nature for opportunities or threats in your environment
    40:00 Video Losing weight without Losing your mind
    44:30 Your nervous system is constantly running an algorythm. If you are not in state of action, of you are bored, this algorythm is: What is the most productive thing I van do in the next instant?
    (That's the job of the nervous system of all animals)
    And food is one of the most important problems, it's typically a survival problem.
    The most important algorythm in humans is therefore "It's kind of a good thing to get some food". This thought is cycling around there.
    So if you are a bit bored, this algorythm pops up: "What would be the most productive thing to do to increase my statistical likelyhood of survival and reproduction? No interesting mates around me making moves. So what about food? Is there any food around here? Let's see. Eeeeh I'm really not hungry. But! If there's any rich food around, that would be worth crumming in even though I'm not hungry."
    These are instincts, this is not selfdestruction.

    48:00 It is not a mistery why people struggle, it is a mistery why anybody succeeds.
    Personality differences; (48:35 video The perfect personality) Social environment; The pleasure trap: it is easier to manage the temptation to get out of the taste-neuro adaptation that we call the pleasure trap.
    Not everyone can change due to personality. They het bored by doing the same, or leaving their Social context.

    53:40 People go off plan. And they say a reason like my Dog died. Is that An excuse they've been waiting for all along? No, these are: Mistakes caused by stress, which is caused mostly by time pressure.
    54:10 The system is searching a wat to increase the survival chance.
    Esteem seeking – people do stuff to please others. It's a lot stuff people are doing. Shortage of space is created and people start searching for shortcuts.
    Stress rocks you out of your normale routine, that's what gets you in trouble.
    So "Dog died" is not an excuse, it's an explanation.
    59:00 There are very little people who are perfect. Even John McDougall: I do a good job other than a Cliff Bar now
    01:08:00 Then why eating is temporarily lifting up a depression? That provides a temporary relief from existential pain. 01:08:27 If you eat a highly palatable food, that is an UNMISTAKABLE REWARD. The system shifts in a positive direction because it statistically reduces the likelyhood of death by starvation.
    It is told you by activation in a dopamine pathway.
    That's true whether you're in a great mood or in a shitty mood.
    It doesn't make any difference where we are on emotional scale and what's been happening. That is going to happen. So therefore it is always a perfectly reasonable Idea to eat some crap.
    People are just as likely to eat junk food when they are in an OK mood, in a great mood, in a fantastic mood, in shitty mood, in horrible mood. All up and down the scale.
    The notion that I was perfect and then something terrible happened and then I ate a bunch of shit is not faulty. Let's make an honest chart – that every time you took one of those cookies was only 2 times this week when you got some really bad news. We are going to find out that it happend all over the emotional spectrum.
    01:11:00 The down moods are not there for you to go eat. The down moods are a signalling device to go fix the problem that caused the down moods.

  10. forisma

    It's such a shame the connection was bad in the beginning!! It does improve later in the conversation, and this interview is so worth watching it!! Please do watch it, it's eye opening. Again. I was writing along, pauzing many times. In order to remember and process it better.
    I will copy my notes for everyone to read through!

  11. Eelke Aptroot

    Thanks, Chef AJ and Dr. Lisle for this great information. I actually saw that rat experiment in real life at some point and not with lab rats. I used to camp on this farm, where we had this shared kitchen unit in a barn, the rats lived in the roof of the barn and when the place was empty they'd come out to eat food, usually they'd climb in or knock over the garbage bin. However, at some point I left muesli bread on the countertop, which contains nuts and probably even oil in the crust. They'd find ways to get on that countertop no matter what and leave the bin untouched, so after I had noticed they ate from it I decided to hide the next one in a turned off refrigerator that was also in the barn. Now I only bought muesli bread on the weekend so during the week they'd still plunder the garbage bin, however during the weekend they'd leave the bin alone. And in the beginning, I thought they also stopped chasing after my muesli bread, but it turned out they were busy chewing their way through the plastic drain unit in the back of the refrigerator to still get to the bread, which they eventually succeeded in. I've at some point seen what those rats look like, they're bigger than most cats I've seen.

  12. Kelly In LA

    All of my skinny friends that practice this rare 'control' are all pretty neurotic and intense all the time. I used to be like them. But the rest of my life suffered-I let go and the weight came on. if i could only figure out how too be chill and still have the constant dilegence needed I could do it. But i still don't know how that works. I feel like I'm doomed to being 15 pounds overweight forever. So close but yet so far…First world problems I know.

  13. Sweet Sunshine

    I have plenty of reasons inc trauma and dysfunctional background which I falsely believed to be the root of my overeating, but understanding it to be biological is empowering and allows me to take control and live in the present rather than the past as far as that is concerned.

  14. Lisa Vickroy

    I disagree. My own self destructive eating pattern is directly related to a traumatic childhood event, which was directly follows by my abuser handing me a box of thin mint cookies. I was not disordered prior to that event. I have struggled off and on since.
    We are not inherently meat eaters so going after the richest food to survive makes no sense and goes against all the so called vegan conjecture that we humans are herbavores due to the shape of our teeth.
    I consciously choose to eat healthfully most days. And I consciously choose something less healthy some days. That's because my brain and it's neurotransmiters and neuro pathways are still associating RICH food with trauma and I still have work to do regarding being raped at 8 years old, then being handed that box of cookies which I devoured in moments because it hurt both physically and emotionally.

  15. SHERI

    Ok I'm feeling pretty good about myself right now.. I've lost 60 pounds & kept it of for 5 years, I'm a total introvert, I have no friends Or family, & it's turning out to be a good thing πŸ™‚ I guess this is why at 49 ,I weigh 130 pounds, even though it's still a daily struggle.

  16. Jennifer C.

    Love chef aj and appreaciate how to the point she is with helpful and positive info. but her guest this time says the same thing for 40 minutes. Could be said in 5 minutes. Loves to hear himself talk and is so negative. Maybe a few people need this kind of repetition to learn, but not most.

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