Fort Memorial Hospital
611 Sherman Avenue East
Fort Atkinson, WI 53538
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Weight Management

Psychology of Weight Loss/Eating Disorders

Weight management has many factors impacting on its success. People eat for many different reasons. When it comes to changing our lifestyle, why we eat is just as important as what and how much we eat. Examples include eating when we are sad or stressed, eating when we are bored, and binge eating. It is important to take a look at these psychological factors and address them as needed. If these common issues are present and not addressed, successful and sustained weight loss will be extremely difficult.

Take some time and analyze your eating behaviors with the help of some screening tools.  A sample tool is listed below.  Be honest with yourself.   If an issue becomes apparent, share the information with your health care provider. The good news is that many of these issues can be addressed and start you down the path of success.

Binge Eating and Purging Screening Tool

Aside from holiday feasts, have you ever eaten a large amount of food rapidly and felt afterward that this eating incident was excessive and out of control?

Yes _____  Score = 2
No   _____  Score = 0

If you answered yes to #1, how often have you engaged in this behavior during the last year?

Less than once a month   _____  Score = 1
About once a month         _____  Score = 2
A few times a month         _____  Score = 3
About once a week            _____  Score = 4
About three times a week _____ Score = 5
Daily                                    _____  Score = 6

Have you ever purged (used laxatives, diuretics, or induced vomiting) to control your weight?

Yes  _____   Score = 5
No   _____   Score = 0

If you answered yes to #3, how often have you engaged in this behavior during the last year?

Less than once a month   _____  Score = 1
About once a month         _____  Score = 2
A few times a month         _____  Score = 3
About once a week             _____  Score = 4
About three times a week  _____ Score = 5
Daily                                      _____  Score = 6

After you complete the section, add the numbers of answers and compare them with the scoring guide below:

Total Score _____

If You Scored:

0 to 1:     It appears that binge eating and purging is not a problem for you.
2 to 11:   Pay attention to these eating patterns. Should they arise more frequently, get professional help.
12 to 19: You show signs of having a potentially serious eating problem. See a counselor experienced in evaluating eating disorders right away.

 

Emotional Eating Screening Tool

Do you eat more than you would like to when you have negative feeling such as anxiety, depression, anger, or loneliness?

Never               _____  Score = 1
Rarely              _____  Score = 2
Occasionally   _____  Score = 3
Frequently       _____  Score = 4
Always              _____  Score = 5

Do you have trouble controlling your eating when you have positive feelings – Do you celebrate feeling good by eating?

Never                _____  Score = 1
Rarely               _____  Score = 2
Occasionally   _____ Score = 3
Frequently       _____  Score = 4
Always              _____  Score = 5

When you have unpleasant interactions with others in your life, or after a difficulty day at work, do you eat more than you would like?

Never               _____  Score = 1
Rarely              _____  Score = 2
Occasionally    _____ Score = 3
Frequently       _____  Score = 4
Always              _____  Score = 5

After you complete the section, add the numbers of answers and compare them with the scoring guide below:

Total Score _____

If You Scored:

3 to 8:    You do not appear to let your emotions affect your eating.
9 to 11:   You sometimes eat in response to emotional highs and lows. Monitor this behavior to learn when and why it occurs and be prepared to find alternative activities.
12 to 15: Emotional ups and downs can stimulate your eating. Try to deal with feelings that trigger the eating and find other ways to express them.

Resources

Psychology of Eating & Eating Disorders RESOURCES

Niagara.Edu: Checklist for symptoms of eating disorders

HelpGuide.org: “Building Better Mental Health”

HelpGuide.org: “Emotional Eating vs. Mindful Eating”

National Eating Disorder Association: “Binge Eating Disorder”

HealthyPlace.com: “Night Eating Syndrome”

You can also search online using the search words – binge eating scale, binge eating questionnaire, or eating disorder symptom checklist  – to seek out other self-assessment tools that you can use.