Cognitive and emotional influences on eating behaviour: a qualitative perspective

Wehling, Helena and Lusher, Joanne (2019) Cognitive and emotional influences on eating behaviour: a qualitative perspective. Nutrition and Metabolic Insights, 12. pp. 1-5. ISSN 1178-6388


Considering that individuals who are within a healthy weight range may experience different thoughts about food to those who are already overweight or obese triggers the need to understand the nature, challenges, and coping strategies of food-related thinking styles in this population in relation to those who are either overweight or obese. Analysis of 6 semi-structured qualitative interviews with individuals who are either at risk of being overweight (body mass index [BMI] = 23-24.99), or above a healthy weight (BMI ⩾ 25), revealed 3 overarching themes: (1) Why am I all about food? (2) Jekyll and Hyde, and (3) Emotional attachment to food. These findings highlighted a link between dieting and negative thinking, which foster unhealthy eating patterns. Therefore, intuitive eating may offer a useful alternative to re-establish a healthier relationship with food.

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