3 Steps To Stop Coping With Food or Alcohol When Losing Weight

Lots of programs, diets, and experts spend most of their time discussing all the things you need to do to lose weight and keep it off.

And while, yes, chances are you’ve found yourself reading this today because you want to lose weight and keep it off – there is another component and it’s crucial to your weight loss journey…

You need to learn how to make peace with food (and for many women – alcohol, too).

When stress gets high, tension in your life creeps in, or you find yourself overwhelmed and depleted, what do you do?

Most of the women I work with (and I’ve experienced this in my own life) tell me they turn to food or alcohol to cope when stressed.

If food and alcohol have become your coping mechanism when life gets hard, here are 3 steps to learn what to do instead…

#1 Identify The Boost

When you’re burnt out, have nothing left, you often want something to boost your ability to cope.

Food and alcohol, very often, become that boost.

A glass of wine or two to take the edge off, a handful of chips or some chocolate to take an edge off, numb out, or give a justifiable excuse to chill out for a minute.

But it really doesn’t solve the actual issue – where is the need for the boost really coming from?

It’s not your fault. This is the part of weight loss that isn’t talked about nearly enough. This is why I make it a major component of The Weight Loss Code Academy.

During this 10-month Ph.D. into your body and life, I personally curating an intimate group of women committed to losing weight with sanity and structure they can stick to – for life – and lift you up along the way.

Shedding, not just the physical weight (I use a unique formula called The MPI which makes it wayyyy easier than what you’ve been doing) but the emotional weight, stepping into your life in a big way – not just in photographs or in a new dress – but in your LIFE.

You can learn more about it here.

Let me give you a peek into what I talk with women in The Academy about…

You have to identify what’s behind your need for that coping boost.

[Truth Bomb] You’re not actually wanting the food or alcohol. You’re wanting the relief it brings – the emotional break or release from what you’re feeling.

Food and alcohol give you that release but it’s transitory. It’s so temporary.

Problem is, the physical and emotional repercussions are not. Unfortunately, weight gain happens quickly and weight loss happens much more slowly. And beyond that, the emotional weight is even worse.

You start to beat yourself up, feeling like a failure, disgusted with yourself because you fell off the wagon – and you stay in this vicious cycle.

So, you have to ask yourself, “How nourished am I?”

If you go into a social situation or just your daily routine feeling run down, you have no resources to use. When stress is high, feeling disconnected, not sleeping well, burning the candle at both ends, you will find that you crave that boost.

Once you identify when and why you do this, it’s time to get yourself better resourced.

#2 Get Well-Resourced

How happy are you feeling day-to-day?

How much laughter is in your life every day?

How much adequate, quality sleep are you getting?

Women are so good at burning the candle at both ends, you often don’t even know how sleep deprived you really, really are.

This lack of good, quality sleep impairs your ability to make good decisions because your pre-frontal cortex is impaired.

And many women are so busy coping with someone else’s stress. If you are dealing with the energy of other people, always absorbing that energy when other people are in a bad mood – that can be exhausting and draining.

To get well-resourced means you’re actively trying to fill yourself up.

If you don’t have a good support system – whether it’s your partner, family, particular family member, friend, etc, when times are tough you’re left on your own.

And (this is so important) even if you do have those connections, you need to ask for what you need, be vulnerable with those people, and consciously choose to not isolate yourself.

So, when you find yourself feeling a certain way, you have a plan in place, people to turn to, and you’re actively choosing to not choose food or alcohol to cope.

#3 Your Spiritual Connection

The third part of this is all about spiritual connection…

What I mean by this is how good are the quality of your thoughts? How well do you let yourself think?

Your thoughts create your feelings which lead to outcomes. So, if you are always feeling crappy and that’s being generated from you, it’s easy to go make the choice that will give you relief at the moment but make you feel even worse in the long run.

The way you ultimately stop dieting is you start to learn to think better thoughts.

You can’t hate yourself at a heavier weight or a thinner weight but you also can’t turn yourself into a basket case to get healthy or thin.

Problem is, women have only been taught two extremes – bingeing or white-knuckling their way through life.

But when you allow yourself to go deeper and ask yourself what you’re really choosing to focus on, I bet you’ll find it’s easy to focus on what’s not great.

You get so used to the negative and you just ruminate on it or overthink every single thing you do. That’s why I want you to be very aware of your inner dialogue and the connection you have with yourself.

Putting It Together

Weight loss is the most transformative journey a woman will go on because you can’t quit your thoughts or food.  

You have to learn how to navigate a new relationship – and not one that’s rooted in extremes.

So, when you put these 3 steps together, you need to spend some real, actual time sitting down with yourself and doing the following…

  • Clear your thoughts in a journal. The act of writing things down really helps more than just thinking about it and identifying those thoughts and feelings will decrease the deception that food and alcohol bring.
  • Decide who your go-to people are and let them know you’re gonna lean on them. Let them know they might get an SOS message. I promise you if they are truly a good person in your life, they will be happy to take the message.
  • Fill up your own tank – check the connection you have with yourself. Know when doing the week you need to recommit to your goals. Not just on Monday but Thursday and Friday, too – get yourself ready for the weekend so you make better choices.
  • Let yourself feel things – when it happens maybe you cry it out (that’s ok!) or you take a walk, call a friend, go to a yoga class. Don’t let it stay, fester, or grow in you.

Figuring out how to change your perception is the first part, the release is the second.

It’s easy to think once you figure this out, you won’t have to deal with this again. Also not true. Your version of what’s hard will just continue to change.

This is why you have to learn to be resilient in the moment.

It shouldn’t be, “Oh well, I blew my eating today so I’ll just start again next week!”


You have to recommit day by day, hour by hour, and sometimes moment by moment. You can’t let the negative take over.

Use the above steps and list to start making that change today. Where will you start? Email me here and tell me.

About the Author:

Jennifer coaches busy, successful women with imperfect lives who want to look and feel amazing from the inside out. With her tried-and-proven weight loss method—ENERGY to Thrive™—Jennifer takes the fascinating science of physiological transformation and breaks it down into six empowering steps.

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