The Emotional Eating Gremlin

What is the number one reason we struggle with emotional eating? There is a beast that lives inside us all. This beast tells us that we aren’t good enough. It may tell us that we are ugly, fat, lazy and/or stupid. It tells us that we don’t deserve good things. It tells us that we can’t accomplish our goals because we aren’t up to the task. I like to refer to this beast as our Gremlin. Your Gremlin as probably been around so long that you hear its voice as your own. Because you hear it as your own, you are more likely to believe it. Because it has been with you so long, you think what it tells you is true. Because you believe it is true, you doubt yourself. You sabotage yourself. You don’t have the things you want because it makes sure you don’t believe in yourself. This Gremlin is very dangerous! To identify and explore your Gremlin, I want you to try the following exercise:


  1. Sit in a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed
  2. Close your eyes and picture the Gremlin. Notice all of the details. Is it male or female? What does its body look like? Is it wearing clothes?
  3. Notice what it acts like.
  4. Notice what it sounds like. What does it say? Pay attention to the very specific messages it gives you.
  5. Name your Gremlin.
  6. Take a step back from the Gremlin allowing yourself to be completely separate.


Now that you see this Gremlin as separate, each time you hear his or her voice pop up, I want you to talk back to it. Tell it that it isn’t welcome in your thoughts. Challenge what it has to say. Ask it to go away. If it won’t, picture yourself putting it in a garbage bag and walking it out to the trash. Then, start to practice noticing a more positive voice in your thoughts, maybe it is the anti-Gremlin! Just remember that thoughts only have power if you allow it.

Michelle Lewis

Michelle Lewis

Michelle Lewis has a Bachelor's degree in Psychology from Weber State University and a Master's degree in Social Work from the University of Utah. She has been working in the mental health field since 2001.


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