How To Overcome Emotional Eating


If you’ve ever wondered why your mind is always on food, you might just know what it means to be jealous of a “normal” eater. You feel as though you’re stuck in a rut that ends up feeling like a rollercoaster relationship with food. One day you’re bingeing on food, the next day you’re skipping meals and counting calories, then finally you end up back on “track” with a plan to eat chicken and vegetables for every meal until the end of time. Isabel Foxen Duke, certified health coach and emotional eating expert, knows exactly how to help overcome being a prisoner to food.

According to Duke, a normal eater doesn’t plan their food in advance. Instead, they eat when mealtime comes around, or when they are hungry—instead of coming up with a detailed meal plan.

Instead of worrying about food at all times, a normal eater will think about other things between meals. Instead of worrying about what kind of cake they will eat at a friend’s birthday party, normal eaters might be more concerned with finding the right gift, or figuring out how to celebrate. If you’re more concerned about how to sneak in as much cake as possible before your big diet tomorrow, you might not be a normal eater.

Someone who eats normally will also not be concerned with judging themselves over eating a cookie or ice cream cone in public, while someone who is concerned about how wrong it is to eat sweets might prefer the method of hiding a bag of candy under the bed to sneak in on a cheat night. According to Duke, “while [normal eaters] generally make healthful choices because that’s what feels best to their bodies (and thus that’s what they legitimately want) they’re not sent into a frenzy when they do eventually have a bite of dessert or the occasional side order of fries. It’s no biggie.”

Your body is smart, and following its biological wisdom (which comes naturally), can help you to break free from your food prison. If you listen to your body, you can maintain a healthy weight without counting every calorie. According to Duke, “normal eaters eat when they’re hungry and stop when they’re full, and usually eat what sounds good to them in the moment.”

Emotional eating can also get you in to trouble, no matter what kind of an eater you are. If you run to the freezer for ice cream after every stressful day, chances are you’re an emotional eater. Normal eaters will turn to another way of coping that doesn’t include overeating. According to Duke, “they’re able to do this because they’ve been practicing coping with life’s ‘triggers’ using non-food-related comforts.” This is a practice that can absolutely be learned. 


Always consult your chiropractor or primary care physician for all your health related advice.

Image Credit: Eating-194 by Duncan Holmes, used under a creative commons license.

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