Weight Balance

Dealing with Emotional Eating

Written By: Kripa Jalan

Dealing with Emotional Eating

Years of coaching in, I’ve seen it all. The late-night binges, the PMS self-soothing with food, the celebratory drinks, and everything in between. Yes, even “that girl”, you know, the one that has it all together – has been there.

It makes sense. Eating is calming. It focuses your attention. We don’t necessarily have unpleasant thoughts or feel painful things while doing so.

Whether out of stress, anxiety, sadness, boredom, or grief, it’s understandable why we turn to food for comfort.

In fact in most cultures, food is used to nurture family and friends. It’s no wonder that we learn to connect emotions and eating. 

While I truly believe that most eating is emotional (CC: Eating in response to hunger, which is a survival response) – when it’s used to numb emotions, it creates problems over time.

Why? Because you’re ultimately left to deal with the source of discomfort alongside the guilt of having eaten, when not hungry.

Think of it this way: When you stress eat, you’re using food to solve a problem. Only it’s a problem that food can’t solve. 

The root of coping behaviors:

Researchers have found that people who struggle with a healthy relationship with eating (and other things, like addictions) generally have one or more of the following challenges elsewhere in their lives:

  1. Grief and loss. 
  2. Life change. 
  3. Relationship problems.
  4. Being unable to deal with the stuff life is handing you.

What you can do:

As you think about your relationship to eating, think of it in terms of a mind-body scan.

What do you feel in your body when you think about these things? What clues does that give you about where your issues lie? What are you TRULY feeling? Notice and name. Don’t judge.

If you're struggling with your relationship with food or feel like you can’t do this alone, you don’t have to.

Check out our weight-neutral counselling program – which is designed to free you from food and diet obsession, maintain a balanced weight, and cultivated a positive relationship with your food – all while nourishing (and enjoying) yourself!