How to Stop Emotional Eating When Life Overwhelms You

Is "comfort food" the most natural option when life is too much?

Posted Sep 08, 2019

Has overeating become a natural reflex when problems seem overwhelming? Do you naturally gravitate towards starch, sugar, excess fat, salt, or other "comfort" foods when life feels crushing?  If so, the following mantra may help:  "Life is not a pain-free experience."

See, when you stop overeating, good things happen. Most people lose weight and feel better physically. Their health improves. Others begin noticing their glowing skin. They not only look thinner, but better overall. Aches and pains disappear, and they feel a lot more comfortable inside themselves.  

Because of this phenomenon, there's a control fantasy associated with emotional overeating. It's like we're creating a problem, in part, for the purpose of being able to think, "If I could only stop overeating the rest of my life would be a bed of roses."

Unfortunately, this is untrue. 

Being present for reality means accepting the highs and the lows. Life can be utterly joyous, but it inevitably comes with at least some pain. Like Robin Williams said, "Reality: What a concept!" 

I know this might seem obvious or cliche on the surface, but embracing it at your core is another story entirely. Moreover, accepting some painful elements of life as beyond your control not only helps you stop overeating, but to stay grounded in reality so you can concentrate the full force of your problem solving ability on whatever is in front of you. In so doing, you become better able to pursue your dreams no matter what life throws in your way.  

Life is not a pain-free experience, but if you have six problems and then overeat, you'll have seven problems.

I recorded the video below a few years ago, during one of the most tumultuous times of my life. I was newly divorced, had just closed down all of my businesses to start again, had been diagnosed with a medical condition, and had moved across the country by myself to a city where I didn't know a soul. The particular day I recorded the video, I'd also just broken up with my girlfriend and  gotten news of my mother's recurrence of ovarian cancer. (It killed her three months later). But you know what?  I didn't binge. In fact, I ate even healthier.  Watch the video to see why.

For more practical tips to stop overeating and binge eating, and reprogram yourself to think like a thin person, see "How to Stop Binge Eating in Three Unusual Steps."