Sudden sweet cravings, remorse-guaranteed dinners, packets of chips or the love of chocolate that turns into addiction… Did you know that they all have an emotional response? Emotional nutrition coach Verda Çakan offers the key to healthy weight loss without the word diet.
Let’s start with the definition of emotional feeding. Can you describe emotional eating?
Emotional eating is a way of suppressing negative emotions by eating. This situation is mostly triggered by negative emotions such as anger, anxiety, anger, stress, sadness, fear, disappointment. If we cannot heal these feelings, the things we eat to suppress them turn into habits over time. But there are ways to help you manage your emotional appetite. Emotional eating isn’t just about controlling painful or irritating emotions. Some emotional eaters may reach for a tin of ice cream or a cookie jar as soon as any emotion becomes too strong. The important thing here is not to make this a habit.
So, you say that nutrition corresponds to other needs beyond a physical need. Why it happens?
Emotions are part of our intelligence and the most fundamental part of our lives. Therefore, when we ignore them, we turn to some specific foods because of the pleasure they awaken in our brain and the hormones they secrete. We prefer foods that seduce us. Nuts, for example, are an explanation of the lack of entertainment, chips or the foods we crack are among the foods that comfort us. Creamy foods such as ice cream and pudding symbolize the desire for affection.
So it is possible to make psychological analysis on the foods we are fond of…
There are certainly rewards for our fondness for certain foods. Every time you are unhappy, we cannot say to you “You have an addiction to food” just because you crave that food. However, when you observe yourself, we can say that if you tend to overeat in some periods, if there is an extreme state of relaxation and happiness every time you eat. For example, there are foods that change according to my mood, which we call “mood food”. Foods that remind us of our childhood or remind us of a memory that gave us happiness at a time. A cake our mother made is like warm milk. However, there are also foods such as the smell of newly baked bread, rice and pasta that seduce us. These are just a few of the foods craved by people who are stressed, nervous, or scared. There are feelings of fear and tension, especially under the desire to eat starch. Another is pain. Those who consume a lot of pain are often successful people and take big risks and love the physical exhilaration of adrenaline. The desire for excitement and adrenaline in your private life creates a desire to eat spicier. If you can’t get the excitement, you want and get angry, more spicy, crunchy foods will relax you.
How do you know if you have an eating disorder? How should it be observed, especially in young people and children?
There are different types of eating disorders. The complete deterioration of this body perception can go as far as the desire to self-destruct. Serious treatment is absolutely necessary in the case of extremely dangerous eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia. Therefore, it is necessary to manage their self-perceptions well, especially in the growing period of children. Self-love comes first. Most of these eating disorders are caused by worthlessness, low self-esteem, lack of self-love and unavoidable stress. It is not necessary to be very overweight to go to a specialist, it will always be useful to get support in terms of awareness and self-knowledge. The adventure of feeding is a long journey and determines the whole balance of the person.
You talk about losing weight with an understanding that the word diet does not exist. Doesn’t the effort to achieve a victory through diet, restrictions, will control and scale resemble the rabbit-carrot equation of the capitalist order?
The word diet is already the capitalist order itself. There is no diet word in this new generation diet, there is a lightening of our burdens. That’s why our first goal is to eat healthy and to teach the body to eat by understanding the difference between physical hunger and emotional hunger. The main mistake of many people, especially living in the vicious cycle of dieting, is to set big goals and return to the beginning, or to think that their task is finished because there is nothing more they can do after reaching the goal and return to the beginning and set a goal again. This is usually a comforting feeling. He wants to experience the feeling of success again and again. However, even if he managed to lose weight in the same way, the result still develops as a vicious cycle of weight gain and loss. It’s healthier to start with small goals to break it up. Setting big goals can lead to perfectionism syndrome as it creates a feeling of stress in the person, and the smallest failure, consuming unhealthy food in a small meal, disrupting the diet, creating a feeling of failure in the person, results in low motivation and quitting the diet.
What do you think about ideal dimensions and ideal weight?
Ideal weight varies depending on a person’s age, gender, body structure, muscle mass and other factors. It is made using measurements called body mass index. This is calculated by dividing a person’s weight by the square of their height, but even a person with more muscle mass can appear overweight based on BMI. This is a completely determined form of measurement in terms of physical health. Just because a person is overweight does not mean they are unhealthy or healthy just because they don’t have weight problems. In terms of ideal weight, mind and body perception should be managed together. What matters is your body image. If you don’t like the person you see in the mirror, the numbers don’t matter. The important thing here is that both your body and mind work together to be happy. Maybe you need to lose five more kilos, but you feel good, do not force yourself, do not stress. And take a deep breath.
How do you work with your clients? What kind of support is provided other than the diet list?
It varies according to the needs of the person. I have one or two meetings per week. In the interviews, I work on many different topics such as the habits of the person, the journey of dieting, the phases of the weight gain and loss cycle, and the changes in his personal life. After each meeting, there are simple exercises that I want him to do the next week, for greater awareness and self-observation. In line with a completely personalized plan and program, I am in constant communication with my client throughout the day, and we continue this process together without stressing our body and mind. My main goal is to teach us to direct our emotions correctly and not to suppress emotions with food, to gain new eating habits.
It is certain that the program you describe is a more radical understanding. What is the success rate of emotional nutrition program compared to standard diet programs?
It is very difficult to say now because as a new generation nutrition program, it will take time for people to get used to this new perception of nutrition and diet. I can say that I have had very positive results from my clients. Because in other old diet programs, evaluation is made only according to the measurements of the person. When you go to a dietitian, you cannot talk about the difficult process you experienced that week, maybe you will need a little different food that week or you will be in a different order. In this new system, we first talk about the emotional state of the person, his feelings and what emotions he is aware of. That’s why I actually become a person’s companion during this nutritional journey and we continue together until we find our own balance.
WHO IS VERDA ÇAKAN?
Verda Çakan was born in 1981 in Istanbul. After completing her high school education in Florida, USA, she graduated from the University of Tampa, USA, communication faculty. After working as an editor for various newspapers and magazines, she gives consultancy and seminars by taking specialist training from the world’s elite universities in order to use her passion for nutrition and psychology professionally.
Trainings University of Tampa Mass Communication BA Harvard Certificate Program Healthy Eating Harvard Certificate Program Cognitive Fitness Stanford University Extension Food and Health UCLA Extension in Nutrition Recall Healing Module IBizcon Academy Holistic Nutrition Diet and Eating Disorders Training Opal Success London Emotional Eating and Binge Eating Specialist Edinburgh University Understanding Obesity Program Opal Success London Anti Aging Nutrition Program