How To Manage Emotional Eating

“I will just start a new diet on Monday”…. Famous words by the average dieter.  What if I tell you it’s not about starting a new diet on Monday or willpower? It’s about figuring out in the moment what is driving you to eat. If starting that new diet on Monday sounds familiar to you, it may be a skill you need to learn.

I am going to teach you how to manage your emotions without using food

When is the last time you fit into your jeans that are sitting in the back of your closet?

 I am sure you have tried many times through diets to lose the weight and have the jeans as a motivator. Or, that feeling of seeing an old friend with that feeling in the pit of your stomach as you sit there and remember that the last time they saw you , you were 20 lbs lighter. Instead of beating yourself up, I want you to pause for a moment and think about this…


You haven’t failed weight loss because of willpower, there is much more to it.


Below are the steps to start getting in touch with your emotions and learn to stop turning to food for comfort. When you learn this skill you will be able to start losing the weight.

1)    Pause for 10 seconds

Before you turn to food take a moment and notice what made you want to eat it Was it sadness? Boredom? Anger? Happiness?  You may not even know what drove you to eat at this point. That’s okay, we will get there. If you aren’t sure we can use your logic. Notice what you were doing right before you wanted to eat.

2)    Write it out for one week

Write what you notice for a week. Just one week. This isn’t a diet journal, it’s a journal to start noticing your patterns. You can start pretending you're Sherlock Holmes for a week. Write out any feelings or emotions that you became aware of.

3)    Feel it for a week.

Forget about the food for a few minutes and try to notice this emotion in your body that came up. When you have established which emotion was affecting you the most, sit with it and just notice what it feels like in your body. 

4)    Create a self-care list

Create a list of your favorite activities or hobbies , if you can’t think of many feel free to email me  and I would be happy to send you a list of different ideas that have worked really well for my clients.

5)    Put it into action

Now you have all the steps. Let’s put it into action. Try to pause before you turn to food, feel the feeling for 10 seconds and pick something on your hobby list to do instead. If you are still hungry for whatever it was you wanted in an hour then go for it!

I hope you’ve found this helpful. I’d love to hear your feedback and your stories. You can email me anytime!

If you know of someone else that may be struggling with emotional eating, please share it with them.

If you’d like to learn more about how I can help you with emotional eating, please visit my website or drop me an email.

Congratulations on taking this step towards a better relationship with food!

Want to get off the diet roller coaster, stop eating emotionally, and lose weight?  Get my Emotional Eating Toolkit.

Natalie Shay is a Psychotherapist and Life Coach specializing in emotional eating. She struggled with her own weight for 20 years. She finally learned to stop dieting and lost 75 lbs. In 2007 she became a Registered Psychotherapist to help emotional eaters stop turning to food for comfort and lose weight without dieting. She helps support her clients and guides them to meet their goals to stop dieting and start living.
Natalie can be reached here.