Mindful Eating for Emotional Eating


Emotional eating is a hot topic at Green Mountain.  We speak about it frequently.  It can be triggered unexpectedly for no obvious reason or it can be in reaction to wanting to manage a difficult situation.

In the class “Understanding Emotions That Can Lead You To Eat” we discuss the thorny problem of identifying emotions.  And in fact, mindless eating can cut your head off from your body, so you don’t know how to think about what you are feeling.

One strategy that can help you connect to your feelings and your food is mindful eating. Michelle May, MD and  author of Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat, writes:

Mindful eating is not just about the appearance, taste, and aromas of food. To me, it encompasses the entire Mindful Eating Cycle: Why? When? What? How? How Much? and Where?

With awareness of each of these decisions in my eating cycle, I can respond instead of react. I have response-ability, rather than re-acting and continually playing out old patterns.

This process of responding rather than reacting gives us the space to explore  emotions or habits. By getting to know our feelings we can use emotional eating as an opportunity to learn more; more about our habits, our feelings and our patterns of mindless eating.

What  might your emotional eating be trying to get our attention about?

3 responses to “Mindful Eating for Emotional Eating”

  1. Often times I overeat when I am tired. Emotionally speaking I sometimes eat when I don’t feel listened to, understood, heard, nor valued. I look forward to the day when I can sit with my feelings and not eat. A good question to pose to yourself is, “What would I be feeling right now if I chose not to eat?”

  2. Chase says:

    I know a lot of people, myself included, that eat to help themselves feel better during stressful or bad situations. Sometimes I’m aware of it. Other times, I am not. In addition, to being mindful of what we eat, everyone needs to find their own way to find comfort elsewhere. For me its going to the gym and hitting the treadmill.

  3. Beth says:

    Slowing down to even identify the emotions is the hardest part of my journey. I certainly don’t STOP and sometimes find myself on the other side of a binge. So very hard.

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About the Author

Marsha Hudnall, MS, RDN, CD

Marsha has been a guiding force at Green Mountain at Fox Run since 1986. In addition to overseeing a professional program that helps women establish sustainable approaches to healthy living, she is a respected thought leader when it comes to managing eating, emotions and weight. She has been a voice of reason for the last three decades in helping people move away from diets, an area in which she is personally as well as professionally versed. An accomplished writer and speaker, Marsha is the author of six books, including the online course Disordered Eating in Active and Sedentary Individuals (co-authored by Karin Kratina, PhD, RD, Human Kinetics), What You Need to Know about Carbohydrates (Academy for Nutrition and Dietetics [The Academy]), What You Need to Know about Vitamin and Mineral Supplements (The Academy), and The Pregnancy Cookbook (co-authored by Donna Shields, RD, Berkeley Publishing). She has worked extensively on a national basis to educate the public about nutrition and the impact of dieting on eating behaviors, including binge eating and emotional eating. Active in many organizations helping to further the cause of health and wellness, Marsha currently serves as vice chair of the Binge Eating Disorder Association and vice president of The Center for Mindful Eating and has been active in the Association for Size Diversity and Health in support of Health at Every Size(R) principles.

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