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Breaking Free From Emotional Eating: Your First 3 Steps

Updated on September 9, 2014

Your First 3 Steps Toward Breaking Free From Emotional Eating

Breaking free from emotional eating . . . is a journey. It has been said, "the problem of emotional eating may end with the scale but it begins in the mind."

Beyond the nourishment of our bodies, to be sure, we are wired to enjoy the "experience" of food . . . the smells, the textures and most importantly the broad range of flavors. However, even when you're not really hungry, do you consistently use high-fat, high-carb or sugary foods to relieve stress . . . to massage a hurt? Do you tend to hide within the temporary comfort that food brings instead of seeking solutions to your problems?

If this sounds like you (or someone you know), you would do well to continue reading to discover the first three important steps toward breaking free from emotional overeating. Help is waiting.

How Do You Know If You Are An Emotional Eater?

Take A Good Look At Your Life

Like anyone else, you look for comfort for your hurts. However, people who turn to food for comfort, find a coping mechanism that won't judge them, hurt them or tell them "no." To further complicate the issue, eating "pleasurable" foods can stimulate the release of endorphins (just like exercise does). So, after you eat, in a sense, you feel better.

If you are using food in this way, the first sign is obvious . . . you will gain weight because you are constantly eating the wrong foods. And you'll no doubt find yourself bound up in yo-yo dieting.

So examine your life and ask yourself:

  • . . . Have I been under stress lately at home or at work?
  • . . . Has anything traumatic happened in the last year or so?
  • . . . Am I trying to deal with a problem but haven't yet found a solution?

If you answered "yes" to any of these questions could mean that you are an emotional eater. You tend to eat but you are not necessarily hungry at the time. And the foods that you often choose are your "comfort foods" . . .

  • . . . High fat foods like french fries, fried foods
  • . . . High carb foods like bread & butter, mashed potatoes, mac 'n cheese
  • . . . Sugary foods like cake, candy, cookies, donuts, ice cream

Here are three healthy steps you can take to overcome emotional eating:

Step 1: Recognize That You Are Challenged In This Area

Breaking Free From Emotional Eating Requires You To Face The Truth

The first step in breaking free from emotional eating is to recognize that you have a problem. Of course, you'll experience feelings of helplessness ("I don't see a way out "), guilt ("I'm ruining my health") and maybe even shame ("I keep doing this to myself, people will think I'm sick in the head").

My core message is this: many other people share this struggle and there is help which is why step 2 is so important.

You Are Not Alone

Many other people share this struggle and there is help.

Step 2: Seek The Appropriate Help

Breaking Free From Emotional Eating Requires Proper Guidance

The second step in breaking free from emotional eating is to seek counseling. Let's be clear . . . there is no shame in getting help. You 've admitted that you have a problem and it makes good sense to get the guidance you need in order to become an overcomer. You cannot stop emotional eating simply by dieting or changing your eating habits. It's all about gaining control over

your emotions.

A person experienced in this area might suggest the practice of relaxation techniques and visualization. By the way, visualization can help you to view your problems in a realistic way . . . not blown out of proportion. In addition you may be advised to solicit support from family and friends. And just as importantly, under the guidance of a professional, you will learn to see food as nutrition for the body, not an emotional crutch.

Emotional Overeating Help Is Just A Click Away - Continues To Be A #1 Resource For Emotional Eaters

Author, Geneen Roth has been there . . . and has overcome. In this guide (based on some of her workshops), she shares her struggle with emotional eating as she adeptly directs you along a path of soul-searching, self-discovery and re-calibrating your thinking.

Geneen has appeared on many national television shows including: Oprah, 20/20, The NBC Nightly News, The View and Good Morning America.

Breaking Free from Emotional Eating
Breaking Free from Emotional Eating

Reviewer comment: "I've read several diet books in my time and while most of them were educational to some extent, none spoke to me on the level that this book does. Many of the anecdote's Geneen Roth has included in her book are seemingly taken directly from the pages of MY life. Her encouraging dialog has let me realize that I am not alone and more importantly has helped me start to transform how I eat and more importantly view food. For anyone who is an emotional eater, who sneaks food, who binges or engages in other similar activities, this easy to read book is worth a look. It could help you better understand your motivations and enable the changes you want, but feel you can't make." -- J. Stutz (Orlando, FL)


Step 3: Seek Support From The People That Love You

Breaking Free From Emotional Eating Requires You to Lean On Your Loved Ones

The third step in breaking free from emotional eating is not be afraid to lean on the folks in your life who love you, namely family and/or true friends.

Please note: In some cases, family members may be part of your stress. If that's your particular situation, then look to a partner, a friend or even a support group.

The point is, the loved ones in your life can learn your triggers for stress and be on the lookout for changes in your eating habits. They can really help you become aware of the foods you are eating, assist you in making healthy food choices and even exercise along with you, if need be.

As the song goes:

  • "Sometimes in our lives
  • We all have pain
  • We all have sorrow
  • But if we are wise
  • We know that there's always tomorrow
  • Lean on me, when you're not strong
  • And I'll be your friend
  • I'll help you carry on . . ."
  • ~~ Bill Withers - Lean On Me lyrics

Has This Information About Emotional Eating Been Helpful? - Share Your Thoughts . . .

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    • profile image

      happynutritionist 7 years ago

      Helpful information here, emotions can make you eat too much...or not at all. Blessed and added to

    • profile image

      poutine 8 years ago

      I confess I'm an emtional eater. Thanks for those great tips.

    • OnARoll profile image

      OnARoll 8 years ago

      Excellent! Lots of great information. Thanks!

    • Eklectik1 profile image

      Eklectik1 8 years ago

      Thank you for this information. 5*****

    • Clairwil LM profile image

      Clairwil LM 8 years ago

      Very informative lens. Well done *****

    • profile image

      RinchenChodron 8 years ago

      Good information and resources. Thanks Five Stars