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  • Melissa McLane

Tips on How to Heal Emotional Eating


Identify Underlying, Emotional Needs:


  • What emotion does food give you?

  • Emotional eating isn't about food: it's about your emotional needs.

  • As a kid did you get rewarded for being "good" with food?


Keeping Your Emotions on an Even Keel

Are Your Thoughts Realistic? Sometimes it’s reasonable to feel anxious, down, angry, or embarrassed.


Let's target your thoughts with two goals in mind: enhancing your ability to see situations from a range of perspectives, and increasing your ability to develop balanced and realistic thoughts about a situation. As you experience a negative emotion, you will practice stepping back and taking a look at what’s going on by following the steps below:


You can work through your thoughts whenever you find that emotions seem to be triggering you to overeat or give up on your goals. Photocopy the attached form and use it as you need it.


Remember, the Thought Record won’t necessarily magically transform your emotions; what they will do is help you be certain that your emotions are based on a realistic interpretation of events.


Thought Record

Situation:Describe the situation leading up to the emotional trigger.

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Emotion:Describe the emotion and rate its intensity. If you have more than one emotion, pick the one you want to work on first. Often this is the one with the highest rating.


Rating: out of 100._________________________

Rating: out of 100._________________________

Rating: out of 100._________________________


Thought:Describe the thoughts related to the emotion you have chosen to work on. Make sure the thought is connected to the emotion you are focusing on and not one of the others you identified. Choose the thought above that you think is most powerfully related to your emotion and rate your belief in the thought here: __________________________out of 100.


Evidence For: List the evidence supporting your thought. ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Evidence Against:List the evidence against your thought.

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Balanced Thought:Summarize the evidence for and against your thought.

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Action Plan: What do you need to do?

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


To become a good observer of your emotional experience, you will need to examine and challenge the negative, self-critical, or judgmental thoughts you have about emotional experiences.


Emotions are like the ocean. They are never static. Although they may come on intensely during a strong tide, they will also recede. I just need to wait the emotion out.


Remember to tell yourself: I can tolerate a strong emotion. It won’t overwhelm me, even though I may feel as if it will.


Remember "my emotion is a message to me". say to yourself: "I need to use my strong emotion as an opportunity to learn about myself and deal more effectively with what’s going on in my life. Although eating may temporarily make me feel better, it won’t address the real issue, and just makes things worse for me in the long run."

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