Stop Battling Emotional Eating

We spend so much time battling and shaming ourselves for things we do. For many, emotional eating is at the top of that list. I want you to stop and consider this for a moment….emotional eating has served a function in your life. At one point in time, it may have kept you safe. That seems weird to consider, right? For many of us, emotional eating was the only way we learned to cope with difficult situations and emotions in childhood. It helped us survive, at least it felt like it did. It just isn’t working for you anymore. Try this exercise:

  • Sit in a quiet place and close your eyes
  • Think about the part of you that struggles with emotional eating
  • Think about what that part would look and sound like
  • Give it a name
  • Ask ___________ what his/her function is in your life
  • Ask ___________ how he/she performs this function
  • Ask ___________ how long he/she has been there trying to help you
  • Acknowledge his/her role in trying to keep you safe over the years and ask if they will let you try to cope without using food moving forward

This is a process. Don’t expect things to change immediately, but if you simply listen to the part of yourself that wants you to eat your emotions, you will probably notice that the intensity decreases. This part just wants to be heard. My guess is that it is coming from a childlike place and by simply acknowledging the pain, some of the power will go away. The more you fight it and shame it, the worse it will get. Instead, acknowledge the pain you are trying to escape and nurture that child. If you find yourself emotionally eating, ask yourself what pain you are trying to escape and find another way to soothe it. Above all else, do not shame yourself if you fall back into emotional eating. Simply acknowledge it and move forward!


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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