Big Feelings: How to Not Overeat When Emotions Run High

When emotions run high, the temptation to eat or drink can be high, too!

How can you manage this?

The first thing to recognize is that these are universal struggles. Every person, at some point, is going to have something happen that will bring about certain emotions.

Big feelings like incredible stress, sadness, loneliness, heartbreak – even big positive feelings like joy – can cause you to overeat or overconsume alcohol because connecting your emotions to food are patterns you’ve likely had ingrained in you for a long time. Most women do.

If you have a bad day at work, you may run out at 3 pm and treat yourself to a frappuccino or order an extra glass of wine at Happy Hour.

But, if you have goals with weight loss, and whatever you’ve been doing isn’t working for you, then you can’t keep implementing the same rules hoping to have a different answer, right?

The major problem is most diets don’t prepare you for when emotions run high. They really only work when things are good, and that is just not real life.

So, the question becomes, if you aren’t dieting, what are you doing instead and how is it helping you when emotions run high?

I truly believe that if I can get women to look at this, 95% of the weight loss problem could be solved.

And, if you want to lose weight and keep it off (meaning through the good and the bad that life throws at you), then this is a question you have to examine.

Let’s take a look…

Weight Loss Extremes

Dieting and excessive eating are the extremes…

Let’s say, one night, you have that hard day at work, so you go out with friends and decide to order an appetizer, eat the entire entree, have dessert, drink 3-4 glasses of wine, there’s a good chance that you might not feel so good the next day.

But the thing that no one’s told you is that this can take a week to undo. I’m not saying this to deter you from having a night out when you want, but rather that, way too often, women get discouraged when two or three days later, they aren’t right back to where they want to be.

You step on the scale and you’ve retained water from that night out, so you might see the scale number go up. You see the same thing the next few days, and next thing you know you’re feeling discouraged to keep going because it feels like nothing is working.

If you overconsume for a day and think that two days after should negate it all, it’s simply not true. The excess consumption can take a week (and sometimes two!)

Part of this is also not your fault because the diet industry has conditioned you to want weight loss to happen rapidly. And so, if it doesn’t happen in 3 or 4 days, you decide you’re failing.

You need to understand that weight loss is going to be different for every woman out there. If you’re under 5’4”, weight loss is going to be completely different for you than a friend who is 5’8” or 5’9”.

Now that you understand how dieting and then overeating can keep you stuck in this vicious cycle, here’s what you do instead.

A Not-So-Harsh Truth

This is a not-so-harsh truth I had to realize for myself. In fact, you can learn more about the exact moment I realized this about myself here.

You ready?

At the end of the day, if you’re not losing weight, it’s because you are eating too much.

If you are not losing weight, then more is coming in than you need.

I know this is true because I was 100% misinformed about how much was too much for my body. I thought if I ate well, didn’t snack at night, and ate organic, how could it not be working?

The good news about this (and why it’s a not-so-harsh truth) is that many women think something must be wrong with them, or it’s their metabolism, genetics, or hormones, but that’s (most of the time) simply not true.

And yes, mindset and emotional eating are the biggest pieces of the puzzle I discuss with clients, but the other part is you need to find out how much food you need for your body size and what overeating looks like for you.

This, too, is also not your fault, because it’s super easy to overeat! Next time you are in the grocery store, at an airport, or restaurant, take a look at the snack bags or plates of food being served. The portions are massive and they are always way more food than you need.

So, how do you stop overeating?

You have to recognize that it’s happening for you. If you think you’re eating well but not losing weight, then you there is your answer. That’s the proof that something isn’t working.

What I’ve seen in my experience (and I have lots of it – helping over 100+ women lose weight and keep it off – for good + me) is that once you tackle overeating and WHY you are doing it – weight loss happens.

Ask yourself this…

  1. What portion size do I need to actually be eating?
  2. When do I overeat? What time of day?
  3. What is the real reason I want that thing at that time?

“I want the 3rd glass of wine Jen, I had a hard week,” said a client of mine just the other day. “So, I had it. BUT the next day I picked up and moved on. Before I would’ve felt like a failure and stayed in the system of soothing myself over the next few days.”

What I teach my clients is that you are going to have big feelings. You’ll have hard, crazy things happen – it’s inevitable.

You can’t let it deter you when it happens and you have to know when you are going to give in and the exact tools you need to, not only combat it but transform the experience altogether.

For example, I have a good friend of mine who recently turned 40 and is feeling like she’ll never find a husband or have a baby.

She found herself staying inside, eating and drinking because the fear was so real and present. At the same time, she was also feeling bad about her weight and this just pushed her deeper into that isolation.

Maybe you can relate?

This cycle happens all the time for women and one initial fear can multiply a myriad of others and this interconnectivity of negativity seems to rule over you.  

It’s not just about how do you figure out a way to manage stress but rather how do you perceive stress in the first place?

Things can always become possible for you. That same friend was telling me how someone she knew recently got married and had a baby at 42, so I reminded her that the life she wanted was just as possible for her.

But if you stay in fear, impossibility becomes the reality and it becomes hard to get out.

If you are looking to uplevel your life, you have to look at these blocks in your life. Where are you numbing out? The best workout or food plan will only take you so far. It will work when things are good.

But when things get hard, what are your coping mechanisms? And how do you perceive the hard days, the lonely ones, or the sadness? Do you let it hold you back from creating the life you truly want?

Name It to Tame It

For anything you don’t identify, it gets bigger.

If you think you are the only person, I promise that you are not. You have to have the courage to be vulnerable and decide that don’t have to be alone in that fear or that shame or those pain points.

This will be the thing that helps you find your freedom.

It’s easy to sleep in or skip your workout or turn to that extra glass of wine. But you have to show up for yourself when you don’t feel like it.

Don’t quit or stop believing in the impossibility. Remember every single thing you want and use it to fuel your forward.

Listen, 95% of the world fails on diets. So, it ain’t you. That means there is something deeper at work and it also means that there is a better way to lose weight – and keep it off.

I want you to escape that failed feeling and show you what it really takes instead and get that abundance, radiance, and love instead.

I have a few ways to do that, so if I’d love to chat with you about it. All you have to do is email me here. I personally respond to every email I receive.

That’s the first step, that’s it. You have to recognize that this is possible for you once you get some real support. I can help you figure out the right next step for you – whether it’s working with me or not.

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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