When asked about the root cause of his emotional eating, Montel described a life-changing traumatic event.
When he was 19 years old and in the Marine Corp, he weighed 142 lb. He was a welterweight boxer.
His cohorts told him that he needed to “bulk up” and put on some weight. So he started working out and lifting weights. One day, he worked out so hard that he tore his pectoral muscle and it swelled up.
When he went to the doctor, he was mistakenly diagnosed with male breast cancer, and had a radical double mastectomy (removal of the nipples and all the tissue down to the chest wall on both sides.) As a young man with mastectomy scars, he felt completely ashamed. And even though he achieved great levels of success in television as well as health and fitness, he soothed his emotional pain with food.
When I hear stories like this, I wish that Montel had consulted me! I could have saved him over 30 years of shame and the emotional eating that resulted from it.
So what do we have here?
One specific event that resulted in years of trauma and emotional eating to push down the pain.
The problem is that emotional eating doesn’t solve anything. Just like anti-anxiety medication doesn’t solve anything. It doesn’t even take the emotions away. It only masks the painful emotions temporarily. And anything that reminds Montel of the shame of his body image from that moment on only reinforces the pain.
It’s pretty simple really, and it doesn’t take years of therapy…
I would teach him about the psychology of traumatic events and how symptoms like emotional eating can result from it. I would LOVE to have taught him Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) although it hadn’t been invented yet in 1974 when the incident occurred.
Using EFT, I would have him recall the event and helped him to neutralize all the negative emotions associated with it … everything he could remember that was still emotionally charged when he thinks about it now. I would start with whatever he feels angry about…what was said…what was done…his outrage at the doctors…the shame and humiliation that he must have felt all these years. So unnecessary…
I admire Montel for his courage, intelligence and willingness to be open and vulnerable in sharing his story. However, sometimes people just don’t know where to go for the best help. You can spend years in traditional therapy talking about this type of event, how it made you feel, how it affected you then, and how it’s still affecting you now.
With EFT, Matrix Reimprinting (an advanced EFT technique to deal with trauma) and Z Point to sweep up any loose ends, he would feel completely different about what happened in a few short sessions. And while he would still have scars, the event itself would be reduced to just another thing that happened along the way. Ok, Montel…the invitation’s still open…:-)
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