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Tame the Emotional Eating Beast for Good

3 Ways to Get Back on Track


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  • Great article. I think it will be helpful to give the emotions a "physical" entity, such as the beast. Thanks!
  • Thank you so much, Dean! You have just put into perspective what I have been struggling to understand for the past several months. I do "feel" like a different person when I am eating emotionally! The past few months have been so stressful -- had to start working ninety hours a week to pay back a debt from a failed farming venture, serious troubles with a teenage son and a health scare. I've gained back 15 pounds of the 80 I lost. I am determined NOT to go back there, so I am taking one step forward, again, today and plan to try out your suggestions on the "beast" immediately.
  • Until recently, I did not believe that I was an emotional eater. I have begun to see that there are indeed times that I eat emotionally. It is great to have information like this to help put this type of eating in my past!
  • What a kind and simple way to view this 'NEEEDY' part of myself that really just wants to make everything better, but keeps making things worse in the meantime. Great tactics and good every day analogies for things like stimulous response and such.

  • What a great article. I love the term "waking the beast" as that is exactley what it feels like, it describes the whole binge thing so well. Even better I think the tool suggested to tame the beast are very useful and practicle, I certainly will be putting them to use next time the beast awakens!
  • A really great book to read on this topic is Laurel Mellon's "Wired for Joy"
    I so relate to this!
  • Finally!! Someone who is writing words that make sense about the seemingly senseless issues I have with food! I've read so many other books and essays on emotional eating, but they just seem like a bunch of psycho babble mumbo jumbo (that may work for many others!) to me. This may be the first time that someone's given me an ACTUAL TOOL TO USE!
    I look forward to reading more of your articles and putting your words into action.
    Thank-you so much for this series. It is really helpful because it really hits home. I've blogged here on Spark about the Evil Robot that takes over my brain once in awhile. It is good to know that shifting into a different persona is actually real, that it is a recognized psychological phenomenon, and that others experience that sensation too.

    An important strategy for me is to recognize the Evil Robot and when the episode is over, to go right back to my "real" self and continue on my Spark path.
    Re: "Tame the Beast": one of the best, most useful articles I've read. Really a BIG help for me. My additional tip: I use a kitchen timer, set for 20 minutes (the amount of time it takes for the brain to recognize "fullness"), and leave the kitchen, promising myself a reward if I wait out the 20 minutes. I tried it this a.m. and it worked!!!

    M. Baker
  • Dean, I love all of your articles. You always seem to get right down to the heart of things. Thanks very much!
  • I really enjoyed this article! It also was great to see posts that these things actually work! It's very encouraging! I saved this article so I can keep referring back to it. Thank you!
  • I waged a war with this beast several years ago and it doesn't dare rear it's ugly head any more. In fact, I completely forgot about it until DH asked me one day if I wanted something. I was really upset about something but his question confused me. I tried to think about why this change of subject came about, I wasn't hungry, we just ate dinner, I was UPSET and stressed. So I finally asked "Why?" and I think it dawned on him that I don't do that any more. It took me a little longer to realize he was so used to my habit of listening to this beast as well that he already had his keys in hand ready to run out the door to feed it. Now he has to change his own habit of asking!

    It was so hard in the beginning. I acted like a baby and pouted, cried, threw a mini-tantrum about how life wasn't fair in my bedroom... and then I got real and started to journal. I would wait out my feelings, try to figure out the deeper issue to what was going on, do something more constructive or simply GO TO BED. Also, I thought about all the healthy ways I could deal with life without food and the primary one was to ACTUALLY deal with it, not stuff it down and wallow in self-pity.

    It took me about 8 months to break the habit, but I'm so glad I did. It's like a baby's habit of sucking it's thumb to sooth themselves... once they break it, if they ever do try again a while down the road, they wonder why the heck it soothed them in the first place and they move on to something else that truly works.
  • I successfully used stalling to manage my cravings a number of years ago and had kind of forgotten about it. This article reminded me of how successful it was. I would tell myself, if I wanted to eat something sugary, to just wait until I got home, or wait until after dinner, or wait 10 minutes, or whatever. If I eventually still wanted it I would have it, but it would be many hours after the first craving, so instead of eating sweets 5 times before dinner, I would just end up having dessert - which was one time. And sometimes I could stall all together and just eat healthy meals. I'm going to bring that back. Thanks for a great reminder!
  • After reading this article, it is so dead on for me. I am an emotional eater, and it can get so out of control. I have been overweight for the past 30-years (after giving birth to my 2 children). My husband always said I looked fine, but he knew I didn't. As soon as stress would occur, their I was finding something to eat. I chewed a lot of bubble gum (yes bubble gum) out of stress. I could go through a bag of 120 pieces in an hour. I would then find something else, but I would go to the store and buy more gum, sweets and chocolate (mind you, I hate chocolate and not a big sweet eater). You couldn't tell. I will try my best to follow these rules. I still have to eat the bubble gum, and it has to have sugar. That sugar free isn't cutting it. I have been doing this now for 3-weeks and I can say I have changed my ways of thinking. My boyfriend gave me the best compliment I have had in a while. He said, "Whatever you are doing, I can see the difference in you." I could of done back flips if I didn't think I would break my neck.


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