crush emotional eating

CRUSH Emotional Eating for Weight Loss

August 17, 2020

CRUSH Emotional Eating

As a follower of, you probably have read many articles addressing the prevalent subject of emotional eating. The reason this important subject is discussed so often is that emotional eating remains the number one reason people gain weight or regain lost weight. This article will help you to crush your emotional eating!

All of us have an emotional relationship with food. Perhaps you have tried many strategies to crush your emotional relationship with food. Some strategies may have worked for a while, but then you find you are right back to emotional eating again. Can you relate? If so, you are not alone. 

How To CRUSH Emotional Eating

As a professional weight loss counselor and coach, I have counseled countless individuals on how to CRUSH emotional eating.

It is imperative individuals start by addressing the ROOT of their emotional relationship with food, accepting and embracing the belief “ I am worthy.”  

Many want to jump right into strategies to curb emotional eating, but they will not work until the strategies are motivated by a strong belief in your self-worth. You will only CRUSH emotional eating when you believe you are worthy of the following:

  1. Physical and emotional health
  2. Understanding and fulfilling your needs
  3. Validating and honoring your feelings  
  4. Meeting your needs and feelings in healthy ways

I would like to help you lay a strong foundation to begin crushing your emotional eating.  The foundation must start with self-worth. 


When you hear the statement, “I am worthy,” what comes to your mind? If you are like many of the clients that I counsel report viewing this statement as something that sounds and feels selfish. Emotional eaters are quite skilled at meeting others' needs before their own. 

Yet, they are quick to tell others they are worthy.  Emotional eaters are the first ones to tell their family and friends that they matter. Isn’t it time to begin believing for yourself what you so quickly tell others? Let’s take a look at the definition self-worth:

Definition: The sense of one’s own value or worth as a person; self-esteem; self-respect.

Self-esteem, Self-respect, Self Worth: there's a reason that all start with “self.”  You can't find them in anyone or anything else. This powerful truth is the key to you starting to crush emotional eating in your own life. I hope this provides you with hope because the only person you have control over is yourself.  You can accept and embrace “I am worthy," and once that happens, you will be able to break-up with the band-aid of emotional eating once and for all. Let’s jump in! 

First, you are worthy of both physical and emotional health. It's very easy to say, “I want to live healthy, “ but taking action can be much more difficult.  You are worthy of the effort it takes to live at a healthy weight. This involves being willing to plan, prepare, and eat healthy food, taking time to use a food journal, incorporating regular physical activity into your life, and ending your emotional relationship with food. 

When you value your physical health, you can learn to ask yourself, “ Will this get me to my goal?” before you dive into that bag of chips or overeat chocolate chips cookies. You are worthy of emotional health. 

Emotional health is having both an awareness of your emotions and the ability to manage and express them in healthy ways. 

When you have poor emotional health, you are more likely to turn to unhealthy eating patterns to manage your emotions. As a counselor walking alongside clients with emotional eating patterns, I can tell you emotional eating is not about a problem with food. Emotional eating is about the inability to name, show up, and be present with your feelings in healthy ways. You are worthy of physical and emotional health.

Understanding And Fulfilling Your Needs

Second, you are worthy of understanding and fulfilling your needs. I often start my emotional eating workshops with this simple question: What role does food play in your life? Through the years, I have heard the following answers:

crush emotional eating

If you want to CRUSH emotional eating, you have to understand and accept you are created with healthy needs. As I look at this list, I see the healthy needs of friendship, celebration, comfort, peace, productivity, and socialization, to name a few. 

What Am I REALLY Hungry For Right Now?

When you are munching on your favorite salty snack, you may simply think, “I must be hungry.”  I encourage you to reflect a little bit deeper and ask yourself: What am I REALLY hungry for right now? 

Maybe you are lonely, and you need some time with a good friend. Perhaps you are longing to have some good old-fashioned fun and celebrate. Another possibility might be that you need peace and an escape from stressful events in your life. These are normal and healthy needs. It became unhealthy when you started meeting these needs with food. 

Your friendship needs, companionship needs, celebration needs, stress relief needs, productivity needs, and relaxation needs are worth so much more than a chocolate chip cookie. See, there's that word WORTH again.  Crushing your emotional eating must begin with believing and accepting you are worth understanding and fulfilling your needs in healthy ways.  

Honoring Your Feelings In Healthy Ways

Third, you are worthy of naming and honoring your feelings in healthy ways. Emotional eaters have great difficulty with being aware, managing, and expressing their emotions. More specifically, they lack strong self-soothing skills. 

From an early age, emotional eaters learned that food could manage their feelings. It's easy to turn to food. It's cheap, readily available and it can soothe and provide comfort in the moment. 

When I first start working with clients, we will often reflect on the events of the week, focusing on their emotional eating patterns. I will often ask, how did you feel before you started to emotionally eat? I usually get a blank stare with the “I was feeling hungry" answer.   

They can readily identify feeling hungry.  They struggle with having an awareness or ability to name feelings such as sadness, happiness, boredom, and loneliness to name a few. If you want to CRUSH your emotional eating you have to believe you are WORTH understanding and expressing how you feel in healthy ways.

Learn to name your feelings. Learn to honor your feelings.  Showing up to your feelings with a French fry is not the best way to honor them. Have the courage to show up to your emotions in a healthy and non-judgemental way. If you can learn to accept your feelings instead of numbing them, you are well on your way to crushing emotional eating in your life. You are WORTH honoring your feelings. 

Meeting Your Needs And Feelings In Healthy Ways

Finally, you are worth meeting your needs and feelings in healthy ways.  Once you have truly accepted and embraced, “I am worthy,” you will be committed and motivated to CRUSH emotional eating once and for all.

Taking the time to improve and strengthen your self-worth gives you a strong foundation to start implementing healthy strategies to curb emotional eating patterns. A tree only flourishes with strong roots as its foundation. Crushing emotional eating strategies only work when they are grounded with a strong root of self-worth. 

When you first read the title of this article, I am sure you quickly assumed it would be full of strategies to exit your emotional relationship with food.  Honestly, though, you have tried those strategies and have found yourself wondering why you could not sustain them. My clients have taught me through the years, success with emotional eating must start with self-worth, self-esteem, and self-respect. 

Once you obtain that, you are ready to incorporate healthy alternatives to emotional eating. You decide to spend time and have a good conversation with a friend when you need companionship. You honor your feelings of sadness by having a good cry and/or writing about your emotions in a journal. You take time for a hot shower or bubble bath when you need to de-stress and relax.

When you have healthy self-worth, you will no longer need the band-aid of comfort food. You will learn to honor your needs and feelings in healthy ways.

Accepting And Embracing “I Am Worthy”

In closing, I would like to share a few tips on how to begin a journey of accepting and embracing “I am worthy.” 

First, you have already started by being engaged in a supportive community like and reading this article. You value your worth by acknowledging you do not have to walk this journey alone, and it's healthier to turn to a community of others who “get it" and can say, “I understand how you feel.” By continued engagement with the community, you are saying, “I am worthy.” I do not walk alone and do not need to walk alone. 

Second, accepting and embracing “I am worthy” could mean joining a support group to work on health and wellness. This could be a bariatric surgery support group, food addiction support group, or a general health and wellness support group. You could attend support groups virtually or on-site. Joining a support group is an excellent way to give yourself the gift of physical and emotional health. 

Third, I encourage you to seek out professional counseling. Dare to have the courage to jump in and talk to a trained professional to help you not only examine the root of your self-worth but help you build it in healthy ways. It's never too late to develop healthy self-worth. Just last week, one of my clients described individual counseling  “as my own personal support group.”  I couldn't say it better myself. 

In closing, I want to encourage you with this powerful truth:  “Know Your Worth. Don't settle for anything less”. 

Read more articles on ObesityHelp by Lora Grabow!

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lora grabow


Lora Grabow, LMSW is a professional counselor and coach who has spent two decades working specifically with weight loss clients in one-on-one therapy and group workshops. Today, she also coaches clients in her online community and in her online course, Foundations in Headwork for Healthy Weight Loss. She helps all her clients tackle the barriers that have kept them from making change permanent and keeping the weight off for good. Read more articles by Lora!