Advertisement

How can low self-esteem affect healthy eating?

Joel H. Fuhrman, MD
Family Medicine
The objection of people unwilling to change their unhealthy diet can sometimes have very little to do with the food. It is often the direct result of low self-esteem, which makes them vulnerable to negative peer pressure, addictions, and emotional over-eating. Some may fear appearing different from others, and they think changing the way they eat will result in a loss of social status. This is a subconscious perception, but some people are unknowingly governed by it. Others overeat to raise dopamine production in the brain, so that they can dull the frustration and pain of life.

As social animals, our brains require certain hormones that are released when we have positive social interaction. Eliminate these interactions and the brain will seek out other ways to produce the hormones and receive stimulatory input. This is why people with strong social ties are far less likely to be drawn into compulsive overeating and other addictive behaviors. Several studies have shown that overeating, like drug and alcohol abuse, leads to dopamine stimulation. For people who are dependent on dopamine surges and who lack the emotional fulfillment that can provide them, consumption of high-calorie foods gives the brain the surge it is looking for. Therefore, they are more compelled to engage in this stimulating or toxic eating behavior. Their beliefs about themselves set in motion a chain of chemical events that predisposes them to addictive behaviors. These can make it more difficult to adopt a healthful lifestyle, so it is crucial to identify this and address it to successfully change eating behaviors.
Eat for Health: Lose Weight, Keep It Off, Look Younger, Live Longer (2 Volume Set)

More About this Book

Eat for Health: Lose Weight, Keep It Off, Look Younger, Live Longer (2 Volume Set)

Dr. Fuhrman's scientifically proven system, Eat For Health, enables you to finally conquer your cravings and food addictions, while steering your taste buds toward healthier food choices. Medical...

Continue Learning about Emotional Health

Improve a Bad Mood with Yoga Exercises
Improve a Bad Mood with Yoga Exercises
If life's got you feeling frazzled or blue, adjust your bad mood for the better by striking a few yoga poses. According to a small study, this popula...
Read More
Can I learn to forgive?
Discovery HealthDiscovery Health
Yes. Forgiving is a process. Start by realizing you are in charge of your emotions. You can't contro...
More Answers
Loneliness May Be Deadlier Than Obesity—And Other Shocking Facts
Loneliness May Be Deadlier Than Obesity—And Other Shocking FactsLoneliness May Be Deadlier Than Obesity—And Other Shocking FactsLoneliness May Be Deadlier Than Obesity—And Other Shocking FactsLoneliness May Be Deadlier Than Obesity—And Other Shocking Facts
About 42.6 million US adults over age 45 report chronic loneliness, but younger people may also be at risk.
Start Slideshow
What Can Men Do to Feel Happier, Less Stressed Out and Less Anxious?
What Can Men Do to Feel Happier, Less Stressed Out and Less Anxious?

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.