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katestefans 11-18-2012 07:15 PM

Sensitive and Overeating?
Hello Everyone ;)

The correlation between being a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP) and an emotional eater is too significant not to share. It’s a pairing that I see often – and one that I see in myself. The aim of this post is to share my knowledge of the Highly Sensitive Person in an effort to provide a sense of sanity to your emotional eating habits. If you are anything like me, the tremendous shame surrounding your overeating has caused you to retreat from the world in an effort “fix” yourself. When you begin to understand that the reason you are overeating is perfectly justified and completely sane – your mission to “fix” yourself will gently fade away.

So what exactly is a Highly Sensitive Person? Being highly sensitive means you pick up more sensory inputs from your environment — you feel things more intensely (both your own feelings and those of others) and reflect deeply before acting. In addition to having heightened sensory input, HSP’s are often physically sensitive to specific foods, making digestive issues and auto immune disorders commonplace. Because of this high level of processing and analyzing, the body and mind are more likely to be overwhelmed, overstimulated and over aroused. This is precisely where food comes into play. Overwhelm is the catalyst for unconsciously using food as a coping mechanism to oversensitivity of outside people, places, situations, and especially emotions. Food becomes an escape route from a world that seems too much handle. The HSP becomes a sponge for the stress of the world – literally absorbing it into their bodies.

Highly Sensitive People have a strong propensity to live in their heads – their strength lies in analysis. The downside of hibernating in your head is that anxiety undoubtedly finds you there and will hold on to you for dear life. When you feel yourself overwhelmed with anxiety, seeking solace with food – recognize your need to retreat. When we honor that we are sensitive beings – we honor the part of us that needs time to recharge, restore and rest. It’s a balance of finding life’s confines and the confines of our sensitive bodies – and finding a way to flourish within their boundaries.

I know being highly sensitive may seem like a weakness given it is masked in your overeating habits – but when you are not coping, your sensitivity will paradoxically be your greatest gift. Because HSP’s have the capacity to see what others may miss, they are natural visionaries, peacemakers, creatives and humanitarians. So you see, you are not a problem to be “fixed”, rather a tenderness to appreciate.

To gain a deeper understanding of the Highly Sensitive Person, I highly recommend Elaine Aron’s, The Highly Sensitive Person.

If you feel like this resonates with you, I am so happy to talk :)

Lots of love.

canary52 11-18-2012 07:57 PM

Thank you for posting this. This is both me and my daughter.

Absentha 11-19-2012 05:55 PM

My hand was shooting up the whole time I was reading.

Galwaylass 11-20-2012 12:25 AM

Interesting post. So, how do you define a HSP? Is there professional research in this area? Is HSP a recognised term?

Icewithin 12-05-2012 08:14 AM

Yes! YES! That is me you are describing. Finally I have confirmation that I am a normal, natural person.

lwestaway 12-07-2012 07:33 AM

Thank you for sharing this about highly sensitive people in such a clear, concise and helpful way. It does resonate with me in all the ways you have described. I imagine it must be a commonality for many people using this site. A blessing and burden but where would this world be without highly sensitive people! We just have to remember to love this about ourselves and view it as a strength rather than a weakness requiring personal punishment/abuse by overeating when things get bumpy. I find that most everything is over-analyzed today but this information is not in that category - its simply giving a name and recognition to a type of people who are long overdue for some understanding.

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