While working on emotional overeating support groups, funded by the Department of Health, it became clear that there is considerable misunderstanding about emotional overeating. This leads to negative stereotypes, with many jumping to the conclusion that someone who is overweight is simply greedy or lazy and needs “more willpower” to eat and exercise healthily. A survey carried out by Beat showed that 88% of people said their difficulties with food were related to emotional problems, and more worryingly 73% of those surveyed who visited their GP said their emotional health wasn’t investigated.
We know that misunderstandings about emotional overeating can potentially mean that those suffering do not get the support that they need. We wanted to find out more about and raise awareness of the issues faced by those who experience emotional overeating, so that we could help them to get the right care that properly addressed these issues.
We surveyed 1,000 people aged 18 and over who binge eat, compulsively overeat, or feel they have emotional eating issues and are overweight, obese or struggling with their weight. We asked them them about their relationship with food and how they have been helped by healthcare professionals. Following our survey, we launched a campaign to highlight the issues of emotional overeating and tackle some of the stigma and misunderstanding that people face, as well as running a series of support groups to directly help people affected.