I still remember a buffet dinner with my college friends many years ago. I arrived at the restaurant with a pre-made decision that I was not going to eat over 400 calories worth of food. But when my friend brought me a small bowl of Mongolian barbeque beef that tasted so yummy, I totally lost control.
It was embarrassing. There were four of us at that event. And one of them, Andrea, was a new member who just joined our small group of friends. When I was returning to our table with the third full, piled-up mountain-shaped plate of the barbeque beef in hand, I could read that “No wonder!” on her face and my stomach churned as soon as our eyes met. I’ve just gained a whole lot of weight, I knew what she could be thinking.
The question immediately flashing out in my mind was “still eat it or not eat?” “Screw it, I’ve already broken the rule.” The same default answer reverberated resoundingly. It was either all or nothing.
During the remaining time at the table we shared, both Andrea and I tried to pretend nothing happened by, awkwardly, avoiding eye contact with each other. The shame and disappointment were so traumatizing that for the next four months, I didn’t attend any social events partially because I knew being out of control had become my default and judgement, I perceived, would be there no matter what.
That was a quick glimpse of my ‘emotional eater’ years — those that were full of inner disasters….And if you are dealing with a struggling relationship with food that brings you guilt, stress, shame, and self-disappointment all the time, you are dealing with what I was dealing with:
An upward battle every single day by default, as soon as you wake up in the morning.
You probably find yourself unconsciously entering Dunkin Donut almost every time you pass it…and always come out with something in your hand even if you aren’t hungry, as if your brain has been hardwired to make you do so.
You probably wonder what’s really making you — a high-achiever who has the degree, the career, the business, the laurels, the capabilities, the inner strength, and the smartness — become so small and powerless in front of something as basic as food and eating.
You are probably easily spending $500 per month on those guilt-generating, addictive treats — from chocolate, candies, ice cream to the caramel macchiato from Starbucks that you feel you have to have one to function.
And you’ve probably been frantically searching for ways to re-establish your relationship with food but the more things you try, the more disappointed and lost you’ve become.
I know how excruciating things are because I used to be in your shoes. The self-blames you keep having, the fears you unleash about your own thoughts, and the constant anxiety that keeps you up at night many, many times — I’ve experienced and seen it all.
If you are in the position where you can’t take it anymore, you are at the right place because this Guide on your screen right now can 100% lead you in the right direction.
It’s not just because it has 4000+ words.
It’s not just because it gives probably the most comprehensive and authentic set of information you can find online about the solution.
It’s also because I, with years of experience of successfully helping people like you as well as my pure intention of helping you get to the definitive answers, cannot stand you leaving this page without feeling respected, supported, and hopeful.
But there’s one thing I do want to be clear about: a Guide like this, although it is a powerful beginning of a pattern-changing solution, cannot help you resolve the issue alone because real transformation requires much more than just information.
So what am I trying to help you achieve here?
Clarity. Clarity on what’s stopping you from having the joyous, nourishing, and care-free relationship with food without worrying about your weight….and a clear, tested milestone-based roadmap to achieve it.
The opening of this Guide has been a little long as I did want to clearly articulate the problem this article addresses, who it is for, and what to expect out of it.
Now let’s dive in — from three major barriers 99% emotional eaters are facing and how to clear them…to stop emotional eating FOREVER.
The Ultimate Guide To Stop Emotional Eating
#1. Limiting beliefs have been running you.
Stopping emotional eating is at least 50% a mind game.
Imagine someone who sets a goal of losing 40 pounds while deeply believing that his genetics are making him fat, therefore he can’t be thin. Do you think his path of weight loss would be easy or full of resistance and struggle?
Just because he believes in that one thing, he doesn’t have motivation or confidence in himself to really make the change.
No matter how exciting your goal sounds, if you have a fundamental, dominant belief that contradicts it, a lot of time on the subconscious level, there’s no power in that goal. And you too, will be faced with a lot of resistance which can sabotage your result even before you start working on it.
So it’s not just what you want, but also what you truly believe in that matters.
And it’s always the case that our dominant beliefs on ourselves and the world around us determine our long-run emotional state of being, which further determines not only our mood but also our personality and ultimately, our identity by controlling how we think, talk, take actions, and make decisions.
The tricky part: a lot of these limiting beliefs are hidden, deeply embedded in your subconscious mind, and are unaware of. But not seeing them doesn’t mean that they don’t exist. Most of the time, they are just running you in the background. And whenever you hear a doubtful voice in your head at a very critical moment of decision making, that’s them sending you their command.
This is true in every area of life, especially in this area of health, emotional eating, and sustainable weight loss that we are addressing here.
Basically, when your subconscious mind works FOR you towards your goal, the journey is a cruise. When it works AGAINST your goal, it’s a willpower struggle leading to repetitive failures.
That’s why I’d be remiss if I didn’t even talk about the beliefs here. In fact, if the coach/expert/gurus you work with aren’t helping you transform your belief system, it’s like building a skyscraper on sand — it won’t happen.
So how do you start changing your beliefs to make them bring you confidence, motivation, inner power, and positive results?
By identifying currently active limiting beliefs that are making you work against you.
What could they be? The answer varies a lot depending on the person. But here, let me give you some common limiting beliefs with the top ranking positions among my clients:
— “I have to deprive myself in some way in order to lose weight.” (Remember deprivation makes the cravings stronger.)
— “I’ve never had a good relationship with food and don’t know if I can ever have that.”
— “My mom has been struggling with food for all her life, and I carry her genes.”
— “I have no power in front of my addiction.”
You get the idea.
If these limiting beliefs are dominant enough, they determine your food, eating, and weight loss experience on all levels, and you must cut ties with them in order to make real progress.
In my program, the Lean Instinct Formula™, my students follow a highly refined and sophisticated system, which helps them evolve their belief system organically. It’s an in-depth, massively powerful self-rediscovery process that overwrites someone’s insecurity and fears around food, self-image, and self-worth and develops confidence, relief, and eagerness towards eating and life from Day One.
Here we can’t unfold the entire system, but as a good starter, let me lay out what you can do now to get a basic initial scan about potential major limiting beliefs within you that are sabotaging your results without you realizing it.
To do that, you first ask yourself where you think you are stuck — for example: “I can’t overcome my chocolate addiction.”
Does this statement feel true to you? Do you feel it strongly and from a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the max, where you are in terms of that feeling?
If it makes your stomach churn, which confirms the thought is quite active and strong, keep working on it by asking yourself why you think so and writing down your answer.
You might write: “because I’ve never had any good self-control in front of it.”
“Because my mom never taught me so. Instead, she only showed me how to over-indulge.”
Keep probing — “why?” And be as truthful and authentic to yourself as possible when reflecting on the answers.
“Because that’s her personal limit for life, and she only knows to either indulge or deprive herself.”
Pause here because you are scratching the surface of something really big here because what you are basically saying is that your mom’s limitations are yours….This could be a root-level limiting belief which keeps you replicating your mom’s patterns of living, including her painful relationship with food.
In fact, it may be affecting multiple areas of your life because if you have this belief that your mom’s limitations are yours, you could well be facing her limitations in other areas such as money, relationships, career, and happiness at large.
It means that truly resolving this one belief can shift your life dramatically. This is why it always happens among my clients that once they’ve cleared a certain major limiting belief even if it seems to be only related to food and weight loss at first glance, they see immediate changes in other parts of their life — finance, job, marriage, you name it.
So let’s continue working: what you’ve written down respresents a belief. And is it more of a thought that’s based mainly on speculation or facts? In other words: are your mom’s limitations really your limitations too?
I assume the answer is “no” because I’m sure you’ve done many things in your life that your mom wasn’t able to.
What are they? Now spend some time on this part and list down a few accomplishments you’ve had which are beyond your mom’s reach. In my program, I require that my clients pave a rock solid foundation by going into their memories and evidence around that idea because the new belief which they are developing should not leave them with any ambiguities or uncertainty. It means that they not only believe the new belief, but also know it from their gut. And they do it by sifting and sorting data in their mind.
So after this exercise, you’d know for sure that you’ve already surpassed many limitations your mom has had in her life.
Your mom’s limitations aren’t yours. And once you’ve internalized this new belief, momentum shifts happen right away.
By ‘internalizing,’ I’m not just talking about recognizing it intellectually. What I’m really talking about is fully embracing it on the visceral level and seeing your base emotional tones shifting to align with this new belief.
So instead of feeling disappointment which used to dominate you, now you feel relief most of the time simply because the negative belief which sponsors that emotion is now gone.
Since the emotions we feel are in fact translated from the chemical reactions that happen in your brain, by creating a different emotional norm, you experience different brain chemicals which impact your body and mind on all levels.
And most importantly, after removing the dominant limiting beliefs, the mental patterns that used to sabotage your efforts now break loose. And the simple self-identification process I’ve just shared with you above can give you a quick check on what in your powerful, mysterious mind is holding you back.
When your mind becomes cooperative, other parts of the work become way easier.
#2. Your body is working AGAINST you.
If you’ve been trying every diet and exercise to lose weight but haven’t accomplished any real results, it’s because your body has been trained to work against your effort.
Let me elaborate on it. This is actually a very common phenomenon among people who have dieted for years but has been very lightly discussed. As you’ve been putting your body through rounds and rounds of diets over many years, it has adapted to a new equilibrium internally as a result of all the suppressing experiences including self-deprivation, starvation, and stress.
The new changes and conditions can include the following:
Your body feels more easily tired than before because of both chronic stress and under-nourishment.
You aren’t burning energy as efficiently as you did because your body is holding everything it gets to keep its basic function due to the frequent starvation mode it’s in.
You are very likely to have developed chronic inflammation which keeps your body retaining and storing more fat, basically putting you on an autopilot of weight gain while exposing you to more diseases. Many studies have found out that chronic inflammation is at the core of the majority of life-threatening diseases from cancer to diabetes to heart diseases.
Also, regarding your physical senses which are extremely critical when it comes to stopping emotional eating and overeating, you may not even feel satisfaction or hunger now. This creates a big problem because without the start and stop signs being functional and clear, blind overeating cannot be avoided.
On top of all that, your body and mind, mostly due to chronic self-deprivation, have been extremely sensitive and susceptible to cravings, and chronic inflammation adds to that by messing with your hormones further. The consequence is that any passing random thoughts about food in the ‘background’ of your mind can be instantaneously picked up, heightened, and amplified by the brain into a big, addictive, and pressing craving. Now your brain is completely fired up to receive the craving triggers and it’s actually looking for them. And as soon as it commends you to eat, you comply because you can’t fight your biology after all.
Having a body that works against you on so many different levels is like driving the car with a broken engine, broken GPS, empty oil tank, and dysfunctioning signal lights. The harder you press the gas pedal and the greater willpower you apply, the more this car becomes exhausted, burnt out, traumatized, and dysfunctional.
THIS is what’s standing between most people and their goals to have sustainable weight loss and a healthy, positive, and holistic relationship with food.
In my clients’ experience overall, to start seeing consistent, steady positive changes on this requires four to five weeks of focused re-conditioning work that’s closely designed to accomplish this goal. Once done, they don’t feel the majority of the cravings any more because first of all, their brain is no longer over-sending the ‘triggers;’ and secondly, their bodies are no longer creating the cravings.
It’s fair to say that the majority of those cravings and the urges to overeat have been ‘muted’ before they come up.
It’s really the fun part because there are a lot of surprising new self-discoveries in the process. Let me give you a few examples:
Clients experience ‘taste buds change.’ They instinctively no longer prefer certain flavors or textures (normally those of the junk food) which they used to be helplessly addicted to. They can still eat the ice cream, they may take a few bites sometimes, but they are no longer obsessed and can easily stop or walk away from it.
Here’s what a client said about stopping emotional eating:
Clients who used to clean their plates at every meal now easily stop halfway as soon as they’re satisfied because the accurate sense of fullness has come back. Decades of overeating ends here because their bodies’ inner experience and senses around food have become complete.
Can you see it here? Stopping emotional eating forever is never about rules and suppression because 90% of the battles you are fighting automatically become non-issues once you’ve transformed your body and restored its natural senses, balance, and instincts.
#3. The self-depriving approach to food which makes food an addictive enemy.
Once your belief system and body are no longer in your way by creating all the noises, triggers, and chaos, it’s time to rewire your physical and emotional experience with food.
My clients’ favorite quote from me: “Everything is a learned skill,” and this of course includes freedom, balance, confidence, and perfect, instinct-based self-control around food. The truth is that all skills are learned by reinforcing muscle and sensory memories. And this is such great news for you because it means through systematic training, you can surely get there.
If you think about it, this food obsession mindset you’ve been struggling with for years is also a learned skill which has been reinforced over many thousands of days by now. You just didn’t realize you were learning it at the beginning because all the muscle and sensory ‘training’ happened spontaneously in the background. For instance, you didn’t acquire it by taking a course on how to start emotional eating and deliberately practicing it. The learning mostly happened while you were having fun — say, a new romantic relationship.
Here I just revealed to you the secret — keywords: spontaneous, background, and fun.
The more you don’t realize you are learning it, the faster and better you learn. This is because you aren’t resisting it.
With that being said, if you are trying to learn the opposite — which is a healthy relationship with food, self-control, and moderation — by deliberately applying self-deprivation, it only works against you. This is because every moment when you are doing that, you are resisting yourself. You want what you cannot have and instead of feeling whole when doing that, you feel divided inside.
This is why a qualified expert in Learning and Development will always tell you that a positive environment and experience are two top contributing factors for productive learning.
That directly translates into fun, pleasure, relaxation, and satisfaction.
That should explain why restriction is not the way to go and why you’ve had no success for all these years if you’ve been trying that method. In essence, it’s not self-control that you need to learn, it’s self-mastery with the right thing done at the right time as if things are re-programmed in the background. This is because everything is a learned skill, and every new skill is new programming.
So what’s the new game plan?
It’s very simple:
To become a happy, healthy person, be that person now.
To gain a satisfying, easy life, live that life now.
I want to emphasize that a dieter’s mindset and approach to food and eating will always lead you to a dieter’s health and weight outcomes, anxiety, negativities, and struggles without exception.
And here’s this major distinction which is totally worth a Post-It on your wall:
A dieter and a healthy, lean, free person are two different species and the two kinds of lifestyles never cross paths.
You can visualize it as two cars driving towards completely different directions — one towards the north and the other down towards the south because the differences in their quality of life are that extremely different.
It means you need to change your direction if your end goal is to have holistic and sustainable results. And instead of relying on dieting rules and restrictions, SATISFY.
Now let me drop another golden nugget because I know what your top concern is ”would satisfying myself make me fat?”
True satisfaction will NOT make you fat.
Want proof? Look at people you want to be like — those around you who are healthy, skinny, care-free and light-hearted about food. They almost always satisfy themselves at any time, anywhere….without making food a big deal at all.
They are not focused on food, not to mention any restrictions. And that’s why they are able to get satisfied by just having one chocolate then move on to their daily businesses as usual without overthinking about what they just had.
THAT is a perfect snapshot of this relationship with food that you want to create for yourself. And let’s be very clear here:
It’s not being skinny and healthy that allows these people to satisfy themselves. It’s satisfaction that keeps fueling their health and lean, skinny bodies.
Besides the healthy people you see who are having fun with food all the time, my clients can attest this too. Almost 100% of them never believed they could really satisfy themselves when they ate…until they did it while losing 50 pounds in a year without any diets or cardio workouts.
So what’s making a difference between you and them? And what might be stopping you from getting there at this very moment?
Two main things here:
First, without turning your body from working against you into working for you, satisfaction will be hard to accomplish because, as we’ve discussed earlier, with how weakly and inefficiently your body might be responding to the sense of satisfaction now, you might really have to indulge heavily for it to feel satisfaction.
That would lead to severe overeating because you don’t have a clear Stop sign. Your natural sense of satisfaction can be readjusted and that’s what my clients and I work a lot on. But right now, you are facing this challenge.
Second, you don’t know how to satisfy yourself while staying in balance. Balance is an integrative physical and psychological milestone — and given how lost you might already be on this after years and decades of emotional eating and dieting, you need to be very well guided to achieve that again.
This is why you can’t do it alone by yourself. And even if you can finally figure things out by sorting, sifting, and putting together all the information through years and years of rigorous research, it’s really not so much about information but transformation, which requires a masterfully designed structure with a roadmap which helps you maximize your progress while avoiding the unnecessary setbacks and pitfalls.
What almost none of my clients have ever realized before we started working together is that real and sustainable weight loss actually requires satisfaction and pleasure at its core.
Yes, I’m serious here. Food satisfaction and sustainable weight loss, instead of contradicting each other, actually contributes to each other.
I’m aware this contradicts what you’ve learned in your dieting years in a major way, but we are not playing that game here.
With a sensible, feasible, and sustainable routine in place, the more satisfied you are mentally and physically, the more efficient your body and mind perform. In this situation, weight loss — easy and fast — is only a side effect that happens on its own.
And the best part? Since you didn’t lose weight through dieting, and you actually lived with plenty of freedom around food, you know this time you can easily sustain both the weight and anxiety-free eating.
I want to make this section is quick and on point, so I’m framing the main messages of this article into the following three main layers:
First, know that this eating problem — regardless how long you’ve been struggling with it — can be resolved when you work on it through a really good approach, with an expert who has hands-on experience in solving this issue holistically for others.
Secondly, to stop emotional eating forever, it’s a must that you let go of a dieter’s mindset first (simply because you don’t want a dieter’s pattern of thoughts, beliefs, attitude, and emotions to run you anymore)…and realign yourself with your future identity, which could well be the suppressed, latent real identity that’s already within you.
You start this process by gradually shifting towards your future identity’s dominant beliefs, instincts, inner physical experience, and his approach to food and eating. That being said, you need to have a very clear picture of what your future identity is like.
Meanwhile, you’ve probably realized by now that counter-intuitively, gaining control over food and eating isn’t really about actively and proactively controlling things. It is instead naturally achieved by allowing a functional belief system and body to run.
In fact, if you try to control and micro-manage with willpower, you are completely missing the point because this issue did not start because of a willpower lack to begin with. And if you do that, the end result is an over-exhausted body with an overwhelmed, chaotic, addicted, depressed, and completely out-of-control mind.
Third, find the right help. You should’ve done it years ago because it would have saved you from many years of struggles and pain and imagine how your life would’ve been different today if you did it.
Now it’s not late at all. My clients are constantly surprised at this newly found ability of going to bed and falling asleep peacefully and soundly with a whole bag of chocolate or candies sitting on their night stands. That’s one of the small tests I give them at a certain milestone stage during the program to show them how well they’ve done after following through the training.
With the right help, all it takes is a few key highly refined actions to start seeing real outcomes in weeks. To make a successful transformation and become a healthy, confident, and successful person in future, having a coaching mindset must be ingrained in your identity right now.
As a coach running a fast-growing coaching practice and a mom of a 20-month-old toddler, I haven’t had the opportunity to write a blog post for a long time. However, I’m sitting here at 7AM this morning typing out this 4000-word guide because I’m fully aware of how many people like you, because of all the misleading and incomplete information online, have been digging a bigger and bigger hole for themselves in hope of finding a solution and peace.
It’s so much life wasted, and life is too short to not live it authentically.
Therefore, I’m keen to laying out the truths and wisdoms which have profoundly helped my clients remove their obsessions, anxiety, stress, and guilt around food and addictive eating patterns every single time….so that being ready to get professional help or not, you can apply the right lens and understand what you are really dealing with and which direction you are really moving.
Like I just mentioned, life is too short to not live it authentically.
If you are ready to transform your relationship with food and weight pattern and learn how to stop emotional eating forever. If you are eager to experience the kind of life that the healthy, free, and confident you can have, apply for a 1:1 call with me by filling out this application form here and pre-selecting a time on my calendar, which you’ll see after submitting the form.
This doesn’t guarantee a call yet. But once I’ve read through your application and decided you are a good fit for this conversation, I’ll confirm the call with you.