5 Steps to Free Yourself from Emotional Eating

Jessica Sandhu 213.jpg

Have you ever felt compelled to keep eating to the point of discomfort?

If yes, then you’re one of many who’ve eaten for emotional reasons. Emotional eating can wreak havoc on your mental, emotional and physical health if not addressed. 

Eating purely for emotional benefit will lead to negative self-talk and self-deprecation. With each binge session, you’ll feel more and more disappointed with yourself which can leave you feeling emotionally unsatisfied. 

And in each session, you’ll sink deeper into poorer physical health. Your digestion will be a wreck, you’ll gain weight (mainly in your middle section), this will show in your face with acne, and you’ll have internal combustion with gas and bloating (which also plays a role in acne).

The thing is, you likely know this information but still make the choice to eat guided by your emotions. 

Also, each time you let yourself be guided by your emotions, you let yourself reinforce an idea that you’re not good enough, out of control, a failure, weak and more. Ultimately things that put your down: a feeling of self-sabotage and self-disgust sets in. 

Emotional eating is quite ingrained in our behaviors AND it’s been around for so long you don’t know any different. 

Driven by societal and social/cultural norms that eating to get you through a tough period is normal. How would you know any better?

Most times a traumatic event can bring such sadness, anger, grief, loneliness, and more that distracting from the pain with food seems the only option.  

Many of us have also seen our own families struggle with eating and we’ve carried their behaviors forward: eating to treat for a special occasion, eating to repress, or eating out of boredom. Oftentimes it’s a combination of it all.

Below are five steps that’ll set you on the path to freedom from emotional eating. I’ve experienced emotional eating (years of binging which I’ve now gratefully released at 28 years old) and from my experience of working with countless clients to release their emotional eating habits and to improve their health and life quality! These are powerful tools for you to use to end emotional eating.

So be kind to you as you move through some tough eating practices and in the end, you’ll enjoy eating without the stress of caving into cravings. 

Remember these two points as you read through and practice:

A.)  Your emotional eating is a gift telling you that something needs attention in your life.

B. ) You can eat as much delicious foods and still work to heal yourself from this emotional eating.

  1. Be with yourself.

    Emotional eating provides a distraction from something uncomfortable. It brings a sense of pleasure and ease when things feel hard or intense. When we overeat, we numb ourselves from our feelings so instead of reaching for food, allow yourself to feel what you need to feel and approach it with compassion. 

    It’s ok to feel all that you’re feeling: sad, hurt, mad, angry, etc. Allow these feelings to wash over you when you’re in the moment of wanting to reach for something. Remember that this is just an episode. It’s a moment. It’ll pass. But this where the work is. Really pay attention to why you want to eat when you feel called to eat it. Is there something else there that you can connect it to?

  2. Find the joy in life.

    Make all of the little things matter in your life. Add fruit to your water for flavor, take baths, take a walk to work instead of driving or taking the metro, wear your nicer clothes that you save for a nice event and more! Let your body feel good and let yourself enjoy life. Sometimes we reach for food to make us feel good when simply paying attention to the small things can make all the difference. For most of the time, emotional eating is just our body’s attempt at experiencing pleasure.

  3. Eat when you’re hungry. 

    Emotional eaters tend to skip eating when they’re actually hungry so they end up eating more later in the day and that only makes them eat more. Opt to eat healthy and nourishing foods when you feel hungry. A mindful practice. 

  4. Know your triggers.

    Figure out when you tend to overeat. Once you know your triggers, you can strategize for it. If you know you eat more when alone, make dates with friends or family to eat together. Journal while you’re eating and turn social media or computer off when eating. Distracted eaters tend to eat more. Bring snacks and food with you when you travel about in your day. Your body might feel deprived and having food nearby gives the feeling of having. Stock your fridge with yummy and healthy foods, create events with friends so your time is filled with nourishing experiences, and be ruthless about having time for yourself. I know when I pack my schedule, I tend to feel like I haven’t had enough time to eat and tend to overeat. 

  5. Own your beauty! 

    Know deep down how beautiful you are. We are culture that places a lot of attention to becoming like the next person so we have a lot to aspire to. But being exactly who you were meant to be!


Jessica Sandhu