A Meta-Analysis of Therapeutic Interventions for Women who Overeat; Supporting Them to Have a Healthy Relationship with Food
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This research was performed to locate effective therapeutic interventions that support women who overeat to have a healthy relationship with food. Previous research and available information recognizes how to support women with undereating disorders or eating disorders as defined by the DSM V. It has failed to recognize the cause of overeating and how to therapeutically and socially support the issues behind overeating without a diet or blaming and shaming the individual. The research question was developed to fill this gap and determine what therapeutic interventions best support women who overeat, due to emotional reasons, to have a healthy relationship with food. This research excludes overeating due to a hormone imbalance, medication side effects or uneven brain chemistry. The method used was a meta-analysis of books and research articles related to the research question. Searches of psychology and social science databases in the City University of Seattle Library and the Vancouver Island regional library located articles and books on topics that included overeating, healthy relationship with food, obesity, emotional eating, food addiction, abuse and overeating, trauma and overeating, therapeutic support and overeating and programs for obesity. The factors that are examined in the analysis are results of the studies, limitations, and the future research considerations. There is not one effective way to support women who overeat to have a healthy relationship with food. Unregulated and unidentified emotions in collaboration with societal pressures on women enhance the likelihood of overeating. The diet and food industry exacerbates and promotes an unhealthy relationship with food. This can potentially increase the likelihood of overeating by using restriction and unrealistic diets while stating that failure to comply is based on a person’s lack of willpower. Research indicates that supporting women to be aware of how societal pressure impacts their choices can lead to a healthier relationship with their body and food. Supporting woman to have self-compassion, live mindfully and become connected to their bodies and emotions can support them to create a healthy relationship with food. Further research needs to be completed to identify how to therapeutically support women who overeat to have a healthy relationship with food. Community and social development programs educating woman and men on the societal pressures placed on women could increase awareness and provoke change.