Yesterday I wrote about the Total Conscious Time (TCT), which is the amount of time you spend thinking about food (and weight, exercise, body image). This type of cognitive avoidance can be a coping mechanism for emotional distress. When you are so preoccupied with these thoughts you don't have to think about the other things happening in your life that might be unpleasant.
For some people their food and weight-related behaviors become an affective avoidance, meaning that they interpret emotions to be related to or caused by their body. For example, someone feeling lonely might say, "Nobody likes me because I'm so fat, so I'm going to start working out to lose weight." She has no conscious recognition of the fact that other circumstances in her life are resulting in loneliness, and thus isn't able to address the real issues. Instead she spends her time chasing her tale in a futile pursuit of happiness from being thin. The pursuit of thinness in turn makes her more isolated (physically and emotionally) and perpetuates the loneliness. As long as she continues to blame her body for her emotions she will keep feeling this way.
Therefore, if you have an elevated TCT, it might be worth reflecting on what you may be avoiding emotionally. The thoughts and behaviors related to food and weight may be serving as a distraction or way to avoid uncomfortable feelings.
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