Why I Broke Up With Emotional Eating - And YOU Should Too

Updated: Jan 31

It's tough to break up with emotional eating and overeating. Our emotional connection to food can be complicated.

I don’t remember when food became my go-to relief for stress or feelings of vulnerability, but I was young.

I was a “chubby” kid. I was the one who wouldn’t wear a bathing suit - EVER. I was even told not to return to ballet class because I was larger than my skinny friends.

Continual teasing led to body issues for me. Uncomfortable situations led me to seek solace in the one thing that relieved my stress: Food.

Food had become my friend - and my enemy.

And the vicious cycle began, and continued, for decades.

It was the beginning of a long and familiar pattern that embedded itself into my brain, weaving itself into the very fabric of my life.

Desperate to fix my body, I swore I’d lose weight.

I'd start a new diet with enthusiasm. I'd renew my commitment to do whatever it took. A week later, I'd slip back into my old habits, eating voraciously, unable to fill an emotional void.

I didn’t know how to take care of myself and Food was my constant companion.

How do you know if you’re an emotional eater?

We celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, religious events, and meaningful life experiences with food. There’s an emotional component to how we see and taste food and experience eating.

For some of us, food is something to enjoy, appreciate and look forward to.

Natural eaters consume food when they’re hungry and stop when satisfied. Food is neither “good” nor “bad” and there’s no agonizing over what to eat or how many points or calories are being taken in.

On occasion, when overeating happens, a heavy dose of guilt or shame usually doesn't go with it. Food isn’t an issue.

Then there’s many who turn to food (or alcohol) to manage their feelings.

Emotional eaters turn to food to cope with feelings.

Stressed at work? Sad and lonely? Angry because you’ve binged again? Excited about a promotion? Ashamed of what you see in the mirror? Worried that what you’re wearing makes you look bigger? Bored or needing a distraction?

Food is the #1 emotional, stress and anxiety reliever above any other strategy we have available to us.

If this is you, you're not alone.

Why break up with Emotional Eating?

There’s a lot of drama involved with emotional eating and it’s exhausting.

In one fell swoop, we jump into the roles of rescuer, victim and persecutor.

Here’s how it happens:

  • When we don’t want to acknowledge or feel our feelings, we rescue ourselves by eating and feel relief.

  • We realize we’ve blown our diet, overeaten, or binged. We pity ourselves or get angry. Now we’ve become the victim. “Poor Me. I can’t stick to my diet.”

  • Not to be outdone, the persecutor’s voice begins to shout, “You’re such a loser! You’ll never reach your goal!” And we're defeated once again.

We can go round and round on that roller-coaster. We develop a raging habit.

Habits are hard to break.

Bad habits suck up our energy. We're left with little room to enjoy life. We can't focus on what's important and we're not fully present within ourselves and with others.

Breaking up with emotional eating is hard to do but I can tell you, it’s harder to stay stuck in the drama.

The 3 Most Important Questions to Ask to End the Drama:

1. What am I feeling?

Step off the drama triangle by becoming aware of your feelings. Make a commitment to sit with those feelings no matter how uncomfortable they make you. They are your natural signals and can’t hurt you. Emotional eating relies on us to devour our feelings about food!

2. What am I thinking?

Thinking like a victim is our emotional brain trying to get us to do what we’ve always done. When we shift into our wiser mind, we take control of our lives. Create a mantra that infuses confidence in you to become free of the whole issue! Eg: “I’ve got this!”

3. What will I do differently?

Rather than beating yourself up, take the gloves OFF. Pay attention to your body's natural hunger cues. Give yourself permission to eat when you are physically hungry. Natural eaters eat food they like and stop when they are satisfied. You can do the same with practice and persistence.

We can go round and round on that roller-coaster. We develop a raging habit.

Don’t spend another minute on a relationship that doesn’t serve YOU!

Decide to step out of the drama and end emotional eating once and for all. You've totally got this! I believe in you.

Need some help to break free? Join me, won’t you?

Contact me…together we’ll break up with emotional eating, step off the dieting roller coaster and design the life you were meant to live – free and confident within yourself and your miraculous body.

With gratitude,

Joan Ridsdel,

Your Wiser Woman Coach

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