How To Stop Emotional Eating From The Inside-Out

how to stop emotional eating and food cravings

I wrote on this same topic in a post titled how to stop food cravings and emotional eating on August of 2017. I just reread it, and quite frankly I am somewhat embarrassed that I would put out such an article… It does however, allow me to see how my vision has changed.

In that article, I spoke of several outside-in strategies for stopping food cravings; food journaling, pattern replacement, spontaneous outcomes, 24 hour strategy, exercise, and meditation.

I now realize that article was built upon a faulty premise; that the world outside can make us feel something in inside.

While each strategy has its’ own place, they each encourage and promote an outside-in experience of life. They each represent something we have to “do” in order to reduce or stop our emotional eating and food cravings.

This approach implies that our feelings do not originate intrinsically, that our feelings are somehow given birth by what we do instead of what we think about. That somehow the actions done by us, or by the world around us, give our emotions to us.

This is not the case, and this is why I now recognize that outside-in strategies such as the ones I mentioned in my past article are built upon a faulty premise.

At first glance, these strategies appear to have lots of merit, they seem to establish a support system for ourselves to help us go from how we currently feel to how we want to feel.

But what if…

we didn’t feel the need to change how we feel?

What if…

we didn’t create resistance to how we feel in the moment?

What if…

we understood that our feelings aren’t controlled by what we do or don’t do?

If we no longer fear or judge ourselves on how we feel, we can loosen the tight grip we have on the steering wheel of our emotions, and create the possibility of letting go.

Imagine that?

No more desire or need to control your emotions. Guess what also disappears along with your relinquishment to the illusion of control? Your emotional food cravings.

When the need to change how we feel disappears, we no longer look to food to change how we feel.

When we feel the need to change how we feel

We arrive home from a long day at work after battling the daily traffic for what seemed like eons. There were construction delays, a minor fender bender on the highway going in the opposite direction that everyone going in our direction had to slow down to snoop at, we were cut off a couple of times, and all we could do was watch the clock and the rest of our night whither away.

We still need to make dinner, but first we must deal with our feelings.

We feel angry and frustrated among other things. We tell our self that we don’t want to feel angry and frustrated, that we’re home now and we shouldn’t feel what we’re feeling. We feel the need to change how we feel.

So what do we do? We resist those feelings through food.

Little do we know, we are about to feed our self with a false sense of pleasure that creates the illusion that we’ve overcome our anger and frustration! We snack on whatever looks appealing in our fridge or cupboards. We are feeling pretty mighty now!

An hour later, dinner is ready. We sense our anger and frustration returning…and the cycle continues infinitely, that is, until we have an insight toward a new understanding.


Because as long as we create resistance to our emotions, we look for a way to manipulate how we feel.

When we don’t feel the need to change how we feel

Using the same scenario as above.

We still need to make dinner, but first we must deal with our feelings.

We feel angry and frustrated among other things. We tell our self that it’s perfectly OK to feel angry and frustrated. We don’t feel the need to change how we feel because we understand that it will pass if we don’t resist it.

So what do we do? We sit quietly on the couch to hold space for our self for 5-10 minutes. We allow our feeling to be, we allow our thoughts to be, we don’t judge them.

We can let our thoughts and feelings come and go like clouds passing through a bright sky, with a knowing that they will pass on their own and the sun will inevitably shine again.

10 minutes later, we feel a sense of calmness come over our self. We have completely forgotten why we felt angry and frustrated in the first place. We have a chuckle at our neurosis as we make our way into the kitchen to start dinner with our mind at home.

An hour later, dinner is ready. We thoroughly enjoy all the flavours of our creation without the need to use food for elation.

What do you fear happening if you don’t resist your emotions?

In other words, what are you afraid will happen if you feel your feelings?

The answer to this question is worth exploring because the answer we discover is the very same reason we resist our emotions.

We are afraid of a certain outcome that we think will happen if we feel what we don’t want to feel in the moment.

Ironically, the outcome from emotional eating literally shortens our lives.

Outcomes such as:

  • weight gain
  • diabetes
  • stroke
  • heart attack
  • cancer
  • insomnia
  • athlerosclorosis

We fear an illusionary outcome of feeling our feelings and replace it with an outcome that has been proven to kill us.

Not very logical is it?

When we peel back all the layers of fear toward what we think will happen if we allow ourselves to feel our feelings in their entirety, we are left with nothing, an empty space.

Within this space, lay new opportunities. Opportunities to feel the polarities, impermanence, and harmlessness of our feelings.

Our emotions are transient in nature, they always pass on their own accord, not ours.

Therefore, once we see through the illusion of our fear and cease to resist our transient emotions, we cease to crave food in an attempt to change them.

Our emotions don’t lead us to emotional eating, it’s our resistance to them that does.

Once this is experienced, it’s game over for emotional eating.

Yes, It IS This Simple

Most of us lead such complex lives that we feel if a solution to our challenge is too simple then it must not work. This is why I get a chuckle when I see the look on a clients face that basically says “THAT’S IT?”

Yes, that’s it.

Let your feelings be felt, they cannot hurt you. Resist and they will persist. Meet them with compassion and they will stop bothering you.

And when do this, and experience its’ profound simplicity, you can have a chuckle at your neuroticism that led you to believe food could actually transcend your feelings. You will now let your wisdom speak, and you will listen.

And soon enough, you will completely forget about food when an emotion arises.

What’s emotional eating again?

What are emotional food craving’s again?

Take care,

Learn from all your experiences, opportunities are everywhere.