Healthy Eating: It’s a Mental Issue Too

Last Thursday, Dr. Edie Goldbacher talked to us about the unfortunate effects that eating disorders can have on people. Goldbacher, an assistant professor with La Salle University’s Department of Psychology, has done a lot of work relating to the prevention of eating disorders. She graduated from The College of New Jersey in 1998 with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology, and she went on to get a doctorate degree in Clinical and Health psychology from the University of Pittsburgh in 2007.¬† She has also completed various research projects that centered on alleviating underlying mental conditions that contribute to America’s obesity epidemic.

Dr. Goldbacher’s presentation discussed the various problems that the obesity epidemic presents. The statistical data in Goldbacher’s slideshow indicated that, over the last 10 years, obesity rates have skyrocketed all across the country. Goldbacher believes that there are two major contributing factors that perpetuate this problem. She said that “genetics load the gun, and the environment pulls the trigger”. In other words, certain individuals are predisposed to become obese, but that only occurs if certain external conditions influence their diet. Stress, anxiety, and inattentiveness can cause people to overeat. Over time, this eating pattern can be very detrimental to one’s health.

Dr. Goldbacher offered several suggestions to correct mental issues that can lead to unhealthy eating. Self monitoring and stimulus control are the most effective ways to combat obesity. Once a person becomes aware of what they eat and why they eat it, they can develop a plan to lose weight. Goldbacher also endorsed counseling as an effective way to improve one’s eating lifestyle.

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