by Joanna Poppink, M.F.C.C

Part One (Continued)

Tragedy in Overeating Answers that Don't Work

The addictive nature of overeating, the anguish, the memory blanks, the inability to stop, the constant search for new diets, the emotional highs of losing weight and the guilt and shame of gaining it back seems to be consistent and rampant in our culture.

I found myself frustrated that many people looked for an answer in a diet or exercise program. I got angry that desperate frightened people were being promised answers via diets and exercise programs.

Reasonable diet and exercise programs, if followed consistently, help provide a person with health and strength. But when programs completely bypass such underlying issues of eating disorders, the programs are doomed to fail.

The tragedy is that often the person doesn't know it was the program that failed. The person with the eating disorder, all ready racked with guilt and self-punishing thoughts, is certain that he or she was the failure. This only perpetuates despair.

It's more apparent than ever that overeating and other related behaviors (starving, compulsive exercise to work off calories, purging through laxatives or vomiting, bizarre eating rituals) are attempts to soothe emotional pain.

Most current research acknowledges that underlying causes of overeating are complex and profound. Yet people still search for and are being offered diets as answers.


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Joanna Poppink, M.F.C.C., licensed by the State of California in 1980, is a Marriage, Family, Child Counselor (License #15563). She has a private practice in Los Angeles where she works with adult individuals and couples. She specializes in working with people with eating disorders and with people who are trying to understand and help a loved on who has an eating disorder.

Contact Information:
10573 West Pico Blvd. Suite 20
Los Angeles, CA 90064
(310) 474-4165 phone
(310) 474-7248 fax

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