Is All Emotional Eating Harmful?

Health coaching samantha eaton emotional eating habits

‘Emotional eating’ tends to fall into the category of stuff we feel pressured to stop doing if we ever want to be healthy and/or love how our body looks (along with eating lots of plain chicken & broccoli, little to no carbs, and feeling guilty when we eat delicious things!). Gotta love the graphic from the wonderful @thefashionfitnessfoodie!

Some things to keep in mind:

Emotional eating is just when we use food to either sooth an uncomfortable feeling like sadness, loneliness, stress or frustration, or when we use it to conjure a feeling like when we’re bored or looking for more excitement.

It’s 100% normal, it exists in ALL eaters, even “normal eaters” who have never struggled with their weight or have any issues with food, but it’s very demonized in our culture.

“Food is Fuel!” is a common saying that I mostly agree with, but also think it can create guilt and destructive behaviors around eating for short-term enjoyment. “Ahh there’s no fuel in this brownie!! I failed, may as well keep eating them and start again Monday…”

Because sure, we literally need to eat or we die, but we have sweet taste buds on our tongue, and they’re there to give us pleasure!

Like there is no nutritional NEED for a cupcake or donut, they’re just foods that are purely emotional. We eat it because it’s celebratory and it makes us feel a certain way.

On the other end, it’s actually a good coping mechanism. It does what it’s supposed to do in a legal and safe way: takes you from feeling uncomfortable in the other direction, even if only briefly. There are WAY worse things you can do as a temporary coping mechanism.⠀

Howeverrr…solely relying on food for happiness or for your only coping mechanism for a prolonged period of time, especially to the point of regular discomfort and overwhelming feelings of being ‘out of control’ around food, are not things to be brushed off or that can be addressed in a well-meaning blog post.

Generally speaking, this is not a ‘condition’ we need to fix, but the mindset around it should be fixed.

Diving into a pint of Ben & Jerry’s because you’re having a shitty breakup can be pretty helpful tool to use and have in your metaphorical feel-good toolbox.

If you’re overusing food as a coping or celebratory mechanism to the point where it’s affecting your health and wellbeing, I’d love to support you in moving past this! Click here to set up a consult call to see if we’d be a good fit to work together.

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Samantha Eaton
Samantha Eaton is a Certified Nutritional Health Coach who is passionate about freeing busy women from the never-ending lose weight/gain weight cycle to create a healthier “normal” relationship with food and her body....basically to start thinking, eating and living in a way that serves her best self. She offers “no excuse” programs, including The Game-changer: a custom, step-by-step, easy to follow “anti-diet” style 6 month coaching program to help women feel amazing about how they look and enjoy food without obsessing about it. Samantha’s unique approach will help you get the motivation, accountability, and tools you need to overcome the overwhelm, clear up the confusion, and build healthy eating and lifestyle habits that last.