“Practical solutions” to emotional eating

A client recently asked me for more “practical solutions” (aka more immediate solutions) to ending emotional eating than my general recommendation…

which is some version of “stop hating your body, and get a life outside of food.”

When asked, I was immediately reminded of a time in my life when this recommendation didn’t work for me either…

I didn’t want to work on liking my body, I just wanted to stop eating and get thin. 

I didn’t want to stare my cultural and social bias around weight in the face, I just wanted to stop eating and get thin.

I didn’t want to question whether or not emotional eating is even “wrong,” I just wanted to stop eating and get thin.

And I certainly didn’t want to address my underlying emotional hungers unless doing so would help me stop eating and get thin.  

The problem with this frame of mind is that grasping for “an end to emotional eating” (which who are we kidding, is really just grasping for thinness) as an exclusive motivation for doing this work is completely self-sabotaging. 

We eat emotionally in direct proportion to our pre-occupation with food, and our pre-occupation with food is a simple function of how badly we want to control our weight and our behaviors. 

When all we care about is weight loss, all we care about is food — and when all we care about is food, emotional eating is an almost certain outcome. 

On the flipside,

when we stop trying to control our bodies,

when we respect our bodies where ever they may land,

when our weight no longer dictates our self-esteem,

when caring for ourselves emotionally comes from a sincere desire to change our lives, and not just our outward appearance,

food loses it’s power…it becomes less and less important

…and yes, we finally create space for ourselves to develop new coping mechanisms outside of food. Yes, emotional eating does drop off on it’s own without much effort — ironically, when we no longer care if we’re eating emotionally to begin with.

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