Recipe to Halt Emotional Eating

Recipe to Halt Emotional Eating

Recipe to Halt Emotional Eating

Although I'm often referred to as “the Ambassador of Joy,” it certainly wasn’t always the case. I spent the first half of my lifetime in the hell of a binge eating disorder.  Then, over the past 30 years, I have explored tools and techniques to get out of that quagmire of compulsive overeating. I present them here as my 5-ingredient recipe to halt emotional eating. [Note: This recipe can be adapted and used to change any unwanted behavior.]

The 5 ingredients are:

1)   Become Aware. Nothing can be changed until you acknowledge it. Ready to grab something to eat? Pause, ask yourself “Am I physically hungry?” Sometimes the answer is “no,” and you refrain from eating it. Other times, the answer is “no,” and you eat it anyway. Now, however, you’ll do it with awareness!

Recipe to Halt Emotional Eating

2)   Get Support. Changing any habit or behavior means changing yourself, and that’s not easy to do without outside support. Do you have a buddy (or two, or several?) that you can call on whenever you need a helping hand or receptive ear? For more helpful tips, refer to the earlier post, “Are You Going It Alone?”

Recipe to Halt Emotional Eating

3)   Monitor your Personal Energy. Pause for a moment right now–what is your energy level on a scale of 1-10 (with 10 being the highest possible)? Periodically during the day, stop and check in with yourself. If your energy drops, there is a tendency to reach for an energy drink or candy bar to boost it. Make a list of personal energizers, as discussed in the “Personal Energizer – Natural Highs” post and use them to keep your energy from falling too low! Tap into Source energy and breathe it into your heart to feel more energized and revitalized.

Recipe to Halt Emotional Eating

4)    Do your Inner Work. Have you ever decided that you’d give up something, say sugar, and within a few hours, or minutes, you find yourself eating it? What’s going on? Our unconscious/subconscious rules the day. One way to discover what’s beneath the surface is to become aware of the different voices in your head. For instance, the Inner Critic voice tells you how “bad and stupid” you are, or maybe the words it screams at you are “fat and ugly.” When you become conscious of this voice one response could be, “Thanks for your input. Now sit down and shut up!”

5)   Make Conscious Choices. When you slow down enough, you will have some space (ok, maybe only a fraction of a second) between thinking about eating whatever and actually reaching for it. During that split second you can choose to do an intervention.  Ask yourself these 4 important questions:

  1. Am I physically hungry?
  2. Am I really hungry or am I choosing food to change the way I’m feeling?
  3. What would happen if I allowed myself to be in my feelings rather than eat my feelings?
  4. What would support me in doing this?


To have future posts delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for the newsletter (scroll up and fill in the box on the right).

If you enjoyed this article, get email updates (It's Free)


Recipe to Halt Emotional Eating — 16 Comments

  1. Enjoyed reading your article, Meryl. Great tips, especially #5 Make Conscious Choices! Thank you for sharing your expertise.

  2. Great checklist! Thanks for sharing – your story AND the list!

  3. Great tips Meryl. I liked the idea of stopping and thinking about my energy level and am I physically hungry or choosing food to change a feeling.

  4. Meryl, you gave us some great tips again. It all comes down to that we need to learn to manage ourselves especially in the area of how we consume food in certain times of the day and in certain moods. Thanks

  5. I love all your advice Meryl. And as usual it relates to so much more than just emotional eating. Thank you!

  6. Wonderful advice Meryl. I am guilty of not monitoring my energy levels at times, and will forget to make a break for lunch! I know that is one of the worst things to do when trying to maintain a healty weight.

  7. Hi Meryl!

    Stopping by from LEAD. Wow, I am definitely not always aware when I eat. Sad, but true. Thanks for these wonderful tips to get me headed in the right direction!

  8. Meryl, the "inner voices" you talk about are the same ones that sabotage people with their money behaviors … my favorite topic … and are mostly embedded messaging from long ago. The key is being aware of them …

  9. Thank you, for an Amazing recipe. I love the tip on doing your Inner Work. We can't have outer world how we want it to be if we are not inner work. Everything starts with us.

  10. Great tips Meryl. "Do your Inner Work" jumps out as so important because when we get to the root cause, there is more of a chance of long term recovery from overeating.

  11. This is marvelous, Meryl!! And #4 is especially important – at least it was for me. I love your recipe card!! And as you said, these steps can help with changing any unwanted behavior.

  12. Great tips! The one I seem to benefit most from is making conscious choices…reaching for a snack had become such a habit…now I am learning to stop and ask if I am really hungry or if a glass of ice water would be just as satisfying! Thanks!

  13. Meryl, this is an excellent article. It took me years to realize something similiar and how to "talk" to myself when I got caught up in a pre-binge moment. Things are great now and I've been mostly binge free for the last year. I can totally relate to #5. I only wish I had help from someone like you years ago. – Alen Standish