Thursday, June 24, 2010

is emotional eating to blame for unhealthy weight gain?

Great Ellyn Satter newsletter (#46) on emotional eating. I couldn't say it better, or add much to this, so PLEASE take the time to click over and read it! Tell me what you think!


  1. I think overall this is quite good, I just think one should be wary of framing of "abusing emotional eating".

    The body can access this secondary use of eating without any conscious input IOW it's often reflexive. Often people only realise what's going on after the fact. To be honest with you I suspect that's true of other things too, but that's another story.

    I was thinking about this yesterday

  2. Thanks for the link, Katja! I have reached the exact same conclusions after months of thinking and journaling and examining my own emotional eating, so I'm ecstatic to see them validated by a professional and backed up by research! I think I have always been an emotional eater, but this only led to rapid weight gain when combined with body image issues: I was not happy about my size, so I blamed my binges; I tried to control them or compensate for them with diets, and the restriction led to more frequent and larger binges.

    Right now I am going through a very stressful moment in my life, but I have learned to "embrace" the impulse to overeat and to be "compassionate" with myself (a very important word I learned from Hirschmann & Munter and Geneen Roth). I give myself permission to rely on food if I feel that I need it to cope with a stressful or unpleasant situation, but I don't beat myself about it, and afterwards I go back to my usual way of eating as soon as I feel ready for it. The binges are much smaller and my weight remains more or less stable. The only reason I'm able to do this is that I have made peace with my body and dealt with my self-esteem issues first. I'm still using food to soothe and comfort myself, but that's ok by now: recovery is a process, it does not happen overnight.

  3. I think it's a great read, and validates something I have known intuitively for a long time - that emotional eating is normal. That it's OK to "use" food to celebrate, etc... I like the concept of "abusing" emotional eating and I agree with the poster above who said we just have to be careful about how we frame that concept. Ellyn is a treasure :)