Emotional Eating Help During The Coronavirus And Beyond

Emotional eating. Do you find yourself turning to food for comfort or mindlessly eating/ snacking? Sometimes stressful events or boredom can trigger emotional eating, which can lead to negative thinking, which can lead to cyclic mental/ emotional traps…good news is none of that needs to happen or continue!!! I’m rooting for you and your health!!! Love you all SO much!!!

I wanted to blog about emotional eating because the coronavirus outbreak is no doubt a stressor and that paired with being quarantined inside might create the conditions that trigger emotional eating. I’ve personally felt the bondage of emotional eating in the past and then I found freedom many years ago. I don’t want you to be negatively impacted by emotional eating. Although we may not have met, I love you. I want you to be happy. I want you to be healthy. I want you to succeed and experience life abundantly. I want to share what helped me in case it can be of help to wonderful, amazing you.

emotional eating

Before I dive in, I’d like to share a couple things:

1) I am not a professional Counselor. Should you think professional advice might be of value, I HIGHLY recommend Sam from Thrive At Home. Sam is gifted in helping people. Food related, relationship related, you name it. There is no shame in reaching out. Sometimes our thoughts can hold us back from doing what can truly help us. Sam does in person and virtual counseling. He has been instrumental in my mental health and health of my marriage. I cannot recommend him enough. (He has no idea I’m sharing him!)

2) This is not a comprehensive blog on emotional eating. I will be sharing resources that are, and they have helped me tremendously.

I’ll start by rewinding life a bit…

I’ve always had a high metabolism. My parents are genetically slender. I got their genes. I loved food growing up and it wasn’t an “issue” until I turned 13. I use the word “issue” lightly because I want to be sensitive. I’ve seen it impact people on different levels and I’m thankful for me it never became an eating disorder. It did however consume much of my thoughts at a few points in my life that made me feel trapped.

I’ll explain. So what happened at 13? I woke up one morning, with a jolt in my bed, screaming, but out of breath at the same time. The pain was beyond me and after some hours at the hospital they discovered I had a kidney stone. A kidney stone at 13. SO wild!!!! The doctor told us that there were several factors that could have lead to the development of the stone and diet was one of them. Out of a list of foods he suggested I avoid, chocolate was one of them. Coming out of something like that I adopted the belief “I will never eat chocolate again!”

I wish I knew what I know now about the brain…How beliefs affect our thoughts. How our thoughts affect the literal physiology of our brain. How thoughts create tangible connections (that you can see in brain scans…they looks like wires!) That thoughts can impact hormone changes, chemical releases, changes in breathing, digestion, and all!! Thoughts impact our entire body and our reality. They impact ourselves and the people around us. The concept of thoughts is more than I could ever describe here and there are scientists who dedicate their whole lives to explaining thoughts. One of these scientists is Dr. Caroline Leaf. She is REMARKABLE. Girls. Please go check her out!!! There are a couple links to her resources at the bottom of this blog post. One YouTube in particular. Please spend a little bit of our quarantined time to go down the rabbit trail of her videos. SO GOOD. Even if you feel like you’re in tip-top shape emotionally and physically, she will provide so much wisdom that you can decide to take or leave.

The “Last Supper” Phenomena

So back to my thought: “I will never have chocolate again!” Seems benign. Until one day I found a box of chocolates in the cuppboard. They looked yummy. I had told myself I would never eat chocolate again. But then I had a truffle. And then I felt bad. I felt bad because I was misaligned with my “truth”. I was experiencing internal conflict. In addition, such an ultimatum thought lead to the “last supper” effect. So I binged and ate pretty much the whole box and said I’ll start over tomorrow…this will be my last meal of chocolate. Anyone else relate?? But that’s a “dangerous” place to be. Suddenly, I found myself thinking more and more about chocolate…why I couldn’t/ shouldn’t have it and so on. There is another phenomena that takes place when things become “taboo”. When you “can’t” have it, you might want it more! Also not a good thing to add into the mix!

Then I found myself incongruent with me “never” having chocolate again and me still eating it. I found myself trying to “quit”. Now this brings up an interesting topic of habits and identity.

How To Make Lasting Change

“True behavior change is identity change. When your behavior and your identity are fully aligned, you are no longer pursuing behavior change. You are simply acting like the type of person you already believe yourself to be…. Identity can hold you back: I’m terrible with directions, I’m not a morning person, I have a sweet tooth, I’m bad at math…Or build you up: I’m the type of person who doesn’t miss workouts, I finish what I start, I read every day. I am a writer.” -James Clear, Author of Atomic Habits. I suggest reading this book. Who do you say you are?

Even though I was unaware of how my thoughts were impacting my brain, I somehow came across the book “Intuitive Eating: A Revolutionary Program That Works” and reading that book my friends, ended years of emotional eating and feeling like I didn’t have “enough will power”. It explained why some people might crave sugar (maybe they didn’t have enough carbs), eating patterns affected by time of day, personality types, etc. I was TOTALLY able to relate and it explained so much of what I was experiencing. Girls, this is a must read. Not only for yourself, but for your daughters and family. It’s not just for girls. It’s for boys and guys too. There are so many practical steps laid out in the book. My biggest take away from the book was trust. Specifically trust with myself.

Ask Why First

Trust aligns with identity. For example, here is a bit of my identity: “I am in control of my food choices”. So when I feel like I might want to down a box of cookies, I first ask myself why. I stop and think. Is it because I just really like cookies or am I feeling sad and want to “self-medicate”. If it’s just because I want cookies, I go for it!! And enjoy it! No guilt! If I want it, I CAN have it! I’m in control! If it’s because I’m sad, I ask myself what really makes me feel better? Cookies might make me feel better for a time, but I know in the long run they won’t really help (and could even make me feel worse if I eat too many and have negative body thoughts).


Personally, what helps me is talking about things. Exercise, journaling, deep breathing, etc. also help! There have been times I grabbed that cookie box, but then stopped to think, and realized what I perhaps needed was processing. In the world of neuroplasticity (the changing of the brain) do something different. It could be anything. Jump up and down. Spin around. Laugh. Doing something different interferes with the neurotransmitters that are creating a pathway in the brain (the connections between myelin). So it might seem insignificant to “do something different” but it is actually doing SO much good!! Pro tip: Make your “something” playful. The brain responds REALLY well to play. Sam (whom I mentioned before) taught me to say “CANCEL!” out loud. The brain requires a certain amount of oxygen to say words out loud versus think them, so saying something out loud is powerful. I cancel unhealthy thoughts and attitudes right on the spot! THEN REPLACE the negativity with something positive. It’s highly beneficial to cancel an unhealthy pattern AND add a positive one. It’s not enough to cancel alone. Fill it back up with something good!

So anywho, back to me realizing I need to process…I put the box back and sit down to talk with my hubby, call my best friend, open the Bible…I process instead of eat.

happy mom and daughter


After reflection, if I still want the cookies, I have them and enjoy them. There is freedom in having the choice. There is no beating myself up for having the cookies. I give myself permission to enjoy the cookies because I want them OR because I feel emotional. So yes my friends, I will still occasionally eat chocolate when I feel overwhelmed, but I trust myself and it doesn’t lead me to lasting negative grips. I eat freely. I am free of the unhealthy bondage of emotional eating. I hope this makes sense. The book Intuitive Eating: A Revolutionary Program That Works really explains it so much better hehe! And I LOVE chocolate!!! It’s been 10 years of enjoying food without feeling bad about my food choices. It’s awesome.

I hope with writing this that you can truly benefit from practical help that helped me to the core. I listed below all the resources I touched on. These are uncertain times, but they won’t last forever. I want these times for you to be as positive as possible.

“I can’t wait for a years time, when all of this is a distant memory and there is a corona baby boom because all the lovers were loving.

And there is a rise in small business because all the entrepreneurs had a moment of stillness and creativity.

All all the children remember nothing but a time when all the mums and dads were at home and drawing and playing board games and we remember it as the time we all got to stop and be present.

We will remember the time our health was our first priority and people learnt new ways to use fresh produce to feed their families and we were all forced to think outside the box and dream up new things, and reinvent old ways and for once even amongst the chaos there was community, there was a global rise in togetherness and the streets were quiet but our homes were bustlin with love and laughter.

That time is coming…soon just like other crisis before it this will all be a distant memory, a things we soon listen to our children discuss in classrooms, a once was; that we share with our grand babies. So to you- I know it’s unsettling but focus on the silver lining, we are in this together an there is so much beauty to see.”- @abrahamhicks_social

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.” Proverbs 4:8


Resources in a nutshell (bookmark this post & share with anyone you think would find this helpful!):

Intuitive Eating: A Revolutionary Program That Works (The book that freed me from emotional eating!! It’s only $7.99! Pennies compared to the riches of freedom with food!)

Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones  (The book that changed my perspective on identity for lasting change!)

Dr. Caroline Leaf

-Click HERE to watch her youtube on explaining how thoughts change the brain…this has been IMPACTFUL for me!

-Click HERE for access to some of her audio books

Thrive At Home (counseling)

Brain Highways (We took this class as a family. Life changing. We went in person, but it’s offered virtually all over the world)

How emotions affect our water molecules

Some goodies off Amazon to possibly make life during quarantine more interesting

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