How to stop eating your emotions


After a long, hard day at work does this sound like you?

  • “I’m too tired to care what I eat for dinner…” (as you pull thru a drive-thru, order a pizza or nosh on the kid's mac & cheese)

  • “I deserve this…..”

  • “Screw it, I’ll be good tomorrow….”

If you’re like most of my clients you have a demanding schedule with a lot of stress.  You know you “should” do better, but it seems impossible by the end of the day. And so we get in the habit of “rewarding” stress with food.

The brain is actually pretty simple in some likes rewards.  And every time you find yourself eating or drinking as a way to escape the way you feel at that moment, you are giving your brain a reward.  

So what do you do instead?  

Allow yourself to feel the emotion.  Don’t try to resist it or distract yourself with food or drink.  You’ll know you’re resisting if in your head you start freaking out about how you’re feeling, telling yourself you don’t want to feel it, etc.

The easiest way to allow an emotion is to try and observe it in a neutral way.  Name the emotion, notice how it physically feels in your body, and pay attention to the thoughts you are thinking while you are feeling it.

If step 1 is actually just noticing the emotion you are feeling AND feeling it - instead of numbing with food or drink - what is step 2?

Step 2 is looking a little further back and noticing the thoughts that gave you the emotion.  It is ALWAYS our thoughts that create our emotions and actions!  You want to change your thoughts from something that is negative into something that is neutral or hopeful.  We don’t need to get to positive, just yet!

If you want some additional help on how to change your thoughts (and this works for all negative thoughts), I’ve made up a cheat sheet on the 3 ways to change your thinking to change your results.