Emotional eating / Why you might be overweight

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I see lots of (good) advice around here concerning fasting, gym programs, food plans, etc. All of this is great if you’re trying to loose some pounds and get into shape. But if food is anything more than nourishment for you, if it consumes your thoughts and you’re stuck in cycles of restriction and shame, sometimes for years, then the problem lies somewhere else.

Simply put: If you eat in response to negative emotions, health advice is not what you need.

The only reason why you’re carrying excess weight is because you think you need it. It serves you in some way. Think for a minute about how being big/ overeating serves you. There’s reasons there.

Here’s some reasons why you might be carrying excess weight:

  • Nothing/ no one can hold you, so you must hold yourself, sooth yourself.
  • Maybe you’re afraid of people hurting you. Paradoxically enough, in our society being fat is a great way to hide. The opposite sex won’t be interested in you, so no one’s able to hurt you. You’re protecting yourself from the attention of men/woman unconsciously. 
  • Maybe you hold on because you’re afraid you’re gonna be denied at some point in the future.

If you have an eating disorder, your relationship with food equals your relationship with love. What you might have learned in early childhood is that you need love so desperately to feel soothed, but it's scares. When you get it, you can't control yourself around it because there's such desperation for it. And when you do take it in, there’s a consequence. You feel guilty, you over - indulge, it’s poisonous. 

What happened when you showed negative emotions as a child? Were they validated? Hell no. You were taught they’re not tolerated. You were conditioned to deny and reject them, to run away from them and fill the pain in an ‘acceptable’ way.
You’re probably still doing that.

Think about when you started gaining weight. Probably something significant happened.

A difficult relationship with food is a good indicator for sexual abuse or other severely traumatic childhood experiences. It could also be more subtle than that. I know for me, I always felt like I need to take care of my own needs, that no-one is looking out/ providing for me. I can’t be sure that there’s food for me when I’m with my parents. Basically I can only trust myself and I’m scared to be left alone to die if I give some of that responsibility away. That made me greedy and controlling… It’s disgusting, I used to hate that about myself. I can hide it and I learned how to be generous with others but it’s much more difficult to let loose with myself.

You must learn to see that being overweight/ binging is serving a purpose. They actually tried to make overweight people to stop overeating/ loose weight and a big number of them fell either into brutal depression, panic or rage. Some of them became suicidal.

You might have looked at that problem in the wrong way all together. You don’t need to be told what to eat, you probably know perfectly well what to eat. You need to be listened to and understand why you eat.
Being overweight is a signal. It’s trying to tell you something. It’s not a problem in itself.
Stop asking what’s wrong with you, start asking what happened to you. It’s not a problem in itself, it’s an indicator.

You need to heal.

Just as a personal example I’ve been eating healthy pretty much all my life. I love cooking and have a passion for food and working out, yet still I gain weight when I’m (too) alone. If I don’t have people around me I can rely on it just happens, even though nothing about my eating changes. I get into a weird obsessive spiral as soon as I think about it too much, my relationship with food changes completely and then it’s all downhill from there. It’s my way of coping. It could just as well be cigarettes or drugs, it really doesn’t matter.

There’s probably so much more to say about this, but who cares. The most important thing is that you get help. If you’re an emotional eater and if any of those things ring true to you, get help. You’re trapped and you’re not gonna get out of this alone. The first and most important think is to talk to someone about it. Just talking about it has a significant potential to better things. Don’t lock it away!

Find a member of your family or a friend that you can fully open up to about this. Or go to a therapist.
Talk to someone face to face, not on the internet.
Feel free to send me a message anytime if you need someone to talk about this, I’m happy to listen.
I mean it, don’t hesitate.

Please. Just. Fucking. Talk. To. Someone.


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I've never been an emotional eater, so it would be hard for me to relate on a personal level. The family I grew up in in Eastern Europe was a warm, safe, and loving place for us kids to be and we were always provided with freshly prepared food from a local farmers market. There was no junk food sitting around and I also learned to cook, preserve, and pickle my own food. So my healthy eating habits were established from literally birth (my Mom also breastfed me, which is the best nourishment for an infant).

But I agree, emotional eating is a type of addiction, a coping mechanism, a result of other underlying emotional issues. That's why when people try to tackle the compulsive eating habit without first addressing the deeper psychological roots, it rarely (if ever) works out. It should be handled like any other addiction, expecting to deal with withdrawal symptoms, etc and, like you said, with the help of people who love and support you. It takes time to heal from any emotional hang-up and I applaud you for putting out the awareness about it and for offering your time to help others :)



Edited by Natasha

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