Stop Using Food To Fill The Void!

Do you frequently use food to cope? If so, it is likely that you tend to use food to fill an emotional void. Often, I see clients who use food to meet emotional needs for comfort, nurturing, relief and although they miss these quite a bit, defiance and control. When I ask clients to start charting emotional eating (not what they eat, but why), I often hear that boredom is the number one culprit. I challenge them to look beyond boredom because more often than not, they are lonely. They use food to feel a sense of connection and that full feeling is like a warm hug….temporarily, of course! I can relate to this. Due to conflicting work schedules between myself and my husband over the years, I spent a tremendous amount of time alone. Food became my comfort and my entertainment to avoid loneliness. No amount of food is going to take that feeling away long-term. It just exacerbates the loneliness when you start shaming yourself for what you have eaten. I use the example of The Grand Canyon with my clients. If you think of this void as The Grand Canyon, how many pizzas, milkshakes and pieces of candy would it take to fill it? It cannot be measured. I have said this before and I will say it again, if hunger isn’t the problem, food is not the solution. If you are feeling lonely, connect with others! Call your friends and family members. Schedule activities in the evenings and on the weekends (prime time for emotional eating). If your relationships are limited, get involved with hobby related groups. Depending on your favorite hobbies, there may be several groups or classes available to allow you to connect with other people who share the same interests. If you don’t know where to find them, (not a dating site) is a fabulous resource. By actually addressing the emotional need, you can stop the emotional eating patterns. If you need more support with emotional eating, give us a call!

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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