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8 Emotional Eating Signs that Could Be the Reason You Can’t Lose Weight

Let’s talk about some sneaky emotional eating signs. Go ahead and tell me if any of this sound familiar to you:


Do you feel like you’re constantly on the search for a new diet? 


Are you counting calories, calculating your macros, and still not seeing the results you want? 


Do you give in to a “cheat meal” or late night snack and then feel guilty about it? 


When you have a stressful day, do you find yourself in the food cupboards before you realise it? 


It’s possible you are experiencing either emotional eating or binge eating, and I’m here to let you in on a little secret. Diets are not the answer. They are simply not sustainable. 


In fact, diets often lead to low self-esteem, negative body image, poor eating habits, emotional eating, binge eating, and weight gain


Take it from me. I’ve tried every diet in the book. I even used to compete in the bikini category in bodybuilding competitions. To the outside world, I’m sure my body looked great – but I was fighting a war within. 


The further into the fitness world I got, the worse I felt about myself. But, if I was doing everything I was supposed to be doing, why did I feel this bad about myself and my body?


Why did I feel so guilty about eating? Why couldn’t I be happy with my successes? Why wasn’t the number on the scale ever enough for me? 


I was going about it all wrong.


I had two horrible relationships in my life. My relationship with food, and my relationship with myself. 


Emotional eating signs aren’t always obvious. It wasn’t until I took a hard look at my inner voice and my food habits that I realised I had a problem with food, and that unless I drastically changed my mentality, I would continue to be miserable in my own skin. 


I am incredibly fortunate that I learned how to become a more intuitive eater, and through that process, found food freedom. 


Intuitive eating (what I call food freedom) helped me say goodbye to diets for good, and to finally love my body. 


Because, you see, in order to heal your relationship with food and with your body, it’s important to step away from the diet mentality. 


If you’ve searched ‘how to lose weight fast’ or ‘how to lose stubborn fat’ or feel like you have tried everything and just feel like you can’t make the number on the scale go down, the real solution more than likely has nothing to do with eating less, doing a cleanse, taking supplements, or working out longer. 


In fact, those things are probably hurting you more.


What is the diet mentality – and why is it so dangerous?

The diet mentality is everywhere. In the news, social media, grocery stores, the doctor’s office, and even your family dinner.


Sometimes it’s obvious – weight loss pills, Weight Watchers, Slimming World, Paleo, workout programs. And sometimes it’s disguised behind phrases like ‘healthy lifestyle choices’ or ‘intuitive eating for weight loss.’ 


The diet industry teaches us that our bodies are imperfect, and that we won’t be happy or healthy until we lose weight. 


This message is false.


Unfortunately, we start to believe it. To believe that our life doesn’t begin until we hit a number on our scale, see a gap between our thighs, or look like the girl on the cover of the magazine.


News flash: that girl is photoshopped. It’s not even real.


But still we believe. We believe we’ll be happier after we get surgery to tuck this and change  that. Because we are no longer trusting our own body – we are trusting a ridiculous, cruel, and unsatisfiable voice. 


It’s the voice that tells you you can’t eat after 6pm, and don’t deserve that dessert because you didn’t work out. 


It’s the voice that tells you you just aren’t trying hard enough, or haven’t tried the right diet yet. 


But diets are unsustainable, and they only make us feel like garbage when we inevitably give in. 


Don’t be down on yourself. There is nothing wrong with your self control. Emotional eating signs or bingeing are not signs you are broken. The system is. 


Just look at the word ‘cheat meal.’ A meal is never cheating. Food is nourishment. It’s not good or bad. Some foods are more nutrient dense than others, but all can – and should – be enjoyed! 


If you keep restricting yourself all week long with your diet, of course you are going to overindulge on the weekend. Restricting naturally leads to bingeing and emotional eating, and it’s a vicious cycle that’s hard to break. 


Maybe these binge meals or emotional eating episodes happen late at night and you don’t even register them. And then you’re back to your workout and meal plan on Monday only to continue it all again. 


But diet after diet after workout after workout and you don’t see the results you want. 


Luckily, society is shifting views and finally learning that diets just don’t work for 95% of people. There have truly been studies on the subject!


But your inner voice about food – and about your body – is very hard to convince after years of conditioning. In order to break free of the diet mentality and emotional eating, it’s okay to ask for help.


But why should you get emotional eating help, and what is emotional eating in the first place? And is it the culprit for your weight and image struggles? 


What is emotional eating?

If you run to the fridge when you feel upset, or find comfort in your food, these might be emotional eating signs. 


If you emotionally eat, you may turn to food when you feel stress, grief, sadness, anger, or even joy or boredom. 


While we all experience emotional eating at some point in our lives, it’s important to remember that food is not the answer for filling that void. The temporary fullness it gives you will only later be replaced by deep guilt and shame for your eating habits. 


Like I said, everyone emotionally eats every now and then. It’s normal. 


But when this emotional eating and binge eating gets out of control, it can lead to serious issues with self-esteem and body image and could turn into disordered eating, which only makes you use food even more as an emotional crutch. 


But how do you know if you are emotionally eating? 


Sometimes emotional eating signs are sneaky. We are notoriously good at hiding our eating habits, even from ourselves. Even though everyone’s experience with emotional eating is a bit different, there are still key emotional eating signs you can look for in yourself. 


8 emotional eating signs

There are many kinds of emotional eaters, but these are some of the most common emotional eating signs:


1. You eat as a response to your emotions

One of the main emotional eating signs across the board is eating in response to emotions instead of physical hunger. 


You may eat when you are lonely, anxious, tired, disappointed, or even when you’re bored at the end of the night. It’s a subconscious and automatic reaction when you feel those emotions.  


In fact, you may even emotionally eat when you are happy and celebrating. It’s not always related to what we view as ‘negative’ emotions. 


2. Food is your source of comfort

If you’ve hit the bottom of a bag of crisps before you realised what was happening, and can’t even recall tasting the food, this is another of the emotional eating signs. When you emotionally eat, you don’t always think about the food, in fact, you ‘numb out’ during your meal.


You turn to food for distraction from your feelings, and not for the nourishment or taste of the food itself.


3. You feel out of control 

Many emotional eaters feel completely out of control of their eating habits. If you eat even when you are not hungry, continue to eat far past when you are full, and go way out of your way to satisfy a particular craving, these are emotional eating signs. 


4. You have trouble losing weight 

One of the most common emotional eating signs? Even though you desperately want to lose weight, you can’t. 


Sometimes, even though you count your calories, weigh your meals, workout, and restrict on a regular basis, you find yourself GAINING weight. And that’s often because your diet is so restrictive that you can’t seem to stop yourself from eating when you finally ‘give in.’  


5. You are never satisfied

No matter how much you eat, or how full you feel, you never feel quite satisfied. If you do find satisfaction it is momentary, and replaced by horrible guilt. If you have experienced these, they are normal emotional eating signs.


6. You get strong and sudden food cravings 

Normal hunger comes on slowly, and can be satisfied by any kind of food. 


Emotional hunger throws random food cravings at you out of nowhere. If you sometimes get urges to eat certain foods, and are unhappy the rest of the day unless that urge is satisfied, then these are emotional eating signs. 


7. You feel shame about eating

If you binge, you’re probably doing it in secret. You don’t want other people to really know what you eat. But when you hide your food it only compounds your belief that there is something wrong with you. It also makes it harder for you or anyone else to recognise the issue at hand.


You should not feel ashamed to nourish your body. Food is not good or bad, but it IS necessary. 


8. You don’t like what you see in the mirror

Most emotional eaters have bad relationships with their bodies. We pick ourselves apart in the mirror, and convince ourselves we are weak-willed or unworthy of a nice life. We eat because we feel like shit about ourselves, and in the end, our eating only makes us feel worse.


But how do you pick yourself up out of this pitfall? How do you learn to love your body again? How do you start to believe that life begins NOW – not after you lose those last five kilos.


Well, the first step is knowing you’re fine just the way you are. And, if any of these emotional eating signs resonated with you, you shouldn’t be afraid to ask for emotional eating help.


Finding the right emotional eating help

If you’ve seen the emotional eating signs, and think emotional eating could be the root of your problem, it’s incredibly helpful to reach out to an emotional eating coach or other professional to guide you on your journey to health.


I wouldn’t be where I am today if I hadn’t found and established the Food Freedom Method, and I can help you transform your life too – because I am so much more than an intuitive eating coach


But it’s important to remember that food freedom (intuitive eating) is NOT a weight loss diet. Remember that we are moving away from diets altogether. 


Also remember that, while it’s possible to lose weight with food freedom (intuitive eating), it’s also possible to stay the same weight or maybe your weight might fluctuate, initially. Weight is not the marker of success with food freedom (intuitive eating). 


It’s about so much more, like:

  • Feeling less guilt around food
  • Learning to love your body
  • Having more energy during the day
  • Ordering off the whole menu on a night out with friends
  • Taking back the power that food holds over you

And so SO much more!


Intuitive eaters not only have less food preoccupation and better relationships with their bodies, they also show signs of reduced stress, improved metabolism and cholesterol levels, and more contentment in life. 


Food freedom (intuitive eating) is a journey that heals you inside and out. If you’ve started to notice these emotional eating signs pop in your life, then a food freedom programme might be the support you need to get off that diet train, just like it was for me. 


If you want to learn more about food freedom (intuitive eating), and what it really feels like, come check out my free webinar, where I share the top mistakes people make when it comes to emotional eating – and give you the tools to overcome them. 


Your food freedom journey starts here.

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