How to stop eating your emotions

subscribers Jun 01, 2022


When you arrive home after a stress-filled day, do you head for the kitchen to eat something - even if you're not hungry? Do you overeat when you are feeling emotions such as anger, overwhelm, stress, discomfort, anxiety, sadness, or boredom?  When you eat, drink alcohol, shop, gamble, or do other things  as a way to avoid feeling uncomfortable feelings – that is called buffering.  Those of us who buffer with food, usually buffer with foods that contain carbs and/or sugar.  These foods give our brains a hit of dopamine.  Dopamine is a "feel good" hormone, and increased dopamine temporarily makes us feel better.  So our eating when we feel badly gets reinforced by increases in dopamine which temporarily makes us feel better, and eating becomes our "go-to buffer" when we have negative feelings. And if we frequently buffer by eating when we're not hungry, we gain weight. 

To stop buffering, we need to practice feeling our unpleasant emotions and be willing to give up the false pleasures from buffering.  Those urges to buffer can be strong and it takes practice to be able to just feel our urges to buffer.  It may take as many as 100 practice sessions of sitting with our urges before our urges to buffer actually go away.  Meanwhile, when we sit with our negative emotions without buffering them away, we are able to process those emotions and they stop having so much power over us.  When we process our emotions, we allow ourselves to feel those emotions - for as long as it takes.   

Think about the emotions that you try to avoid by overeating.  The next time one of those negative emotions  occurs and you overeat, pay attention to how the eating affects your emotion.  How did you feel before you overate and how did the overeating affect how you felt afterwards?  How would you be a different person if you allowed yourself to feel your emotions rather than overeating to avoid them?  When we eat to avoid feeling painful emotions, those emotions often last longer or return more frequently.  

How would your life be different if you allowed yourself to feel all of your feelings? How would you change if you were able to stop using food as a way to avoid feeling those negative feelings? What kind of person would you be if you could feel all of your feelings - if you were more available to experience real pleasures by giving up the false pleasures of buffering?

 Check out my freebie on handling urges on my website: for more help on sitting with urges and how to use an Urge Jar.

To make sure you don't miss any of my posts, subscribe at  And if you're really ready to lose that weight for good, and to learn how to experience all of your emotions without eating, schedule a mini-session to learn how coaching can change your life (and your weight). Contact me at [email protected] or click on the link on my website.  The mini-session is free and there is no obligation, and no pressure. Coaching may be the solution you need to finally get control of your eating.  For the price of a vacation, you can make permanent changes in both your weight and your life.  If you think you've subscribed and you're not getting my posts, please check your spam folder.

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