How to Love Your Body and Stop Emotional Eating

Have you ever attempted to follow a diet for weeks but then start going off track?

Or Are you constantly moving from one diet to the next, struggling with overeating & feeling out of control?​

Maybe you are desperate to shield your children from the same destructive thoughts about her body that you had growing up?

There are many more reasons and most of my clients feel like this when we first start working together.

This was me four years ago. I felt hopeless and to be honest, I was on the diet roller coaster for over 13 years and  I felt like a failure. What was wrong with me? Why could I not get something as simple as sticking to an eating plan right? 

I have tried over 25 different diets (some I repeated more than once) but I just couldn’t stick to it. I started binge eating daily and wondered if I was addicted to food.

I felt so ashamed of myself, I would often ask myself “ why can everyone else be normal with food but I can’t seem to control myself?”

It took me 25 diets and 13 years of agony to realise I was not the problem. Diets are the problem not the solution to our food struggles. Through my own healing journey with food I realised that Diets don’t work. 

For many people, struggling with their body image is a huge part of their life. We are constantly bombarded by messages that tell us that we need to change our bodies in order to be acceptable, attractive or even sustainable.We are told that a simple eat less, run more strategy would solve all our problems. 

1. What is dieting?

Dieting is when a person restricts their food intake in order to lose weight. Not only is this unhealthy, but it’s also not effective. 95% of people who diet will gain the weight (or more) back within 5 years. Dieting is also a form of restriction and if we want to truly learn how to love our bodies and ourselves, we need to let go of this form of restriction by welcoming in the idea that food is meant to be enjoyed. 

3. Reasons why dieting does not work 

There are some main reasons why diets don’t work.

The first reason is that dieting is based on the idea that weight loss will make you happy, or improve your self-esteem. This is rarely the case. Dieting makes people obsess over eating, and often leads to binge eating or other unhealthy behaviors.

Dieting is a type of disordered eating, a broader term used to describe any eating pattern that causes someone to feel out of control with food. Disordered eating habits, such as binge eating and under-eating, can lead to feelings of guilt and shame, a distorted body image, and even the development of eating disorders, like anorexia and bulimia.

I have worked with thousands of women who have dieted in the past. The number one reason why diets don’t work is because they don’t address your emotional eating. The moment you begin restricting certain food groups, it is impossible to stick to it for long. Before you know it, you’ve caved into temptation because your emotional needs are not being met. We want to find out what emotional issues are keeping you “stuck” with poor body image and low self-esteem.

The consequences of dieting can be both physical and mental. Physical consequences can include feeling tired, dizzy, and lightheaded. Mental consequences can include feeling irritable, anxious, and depressed.

3. What are some alternatives to dieting?

Some alternatives to dieting are exercise, portion control, and mindful eating.

When people think of health they often talk about the number on the scale, but it’s more than that. Instead, start focusing on what you can do to feel better and be healthy rather than taking extreme approaches to weight loss like restrictive dieting or fad diets.

5 Ways to Stop Dieting

1. Don’t deprive yourself – If you’re cutting out entire food groups or severely restricting your calorie intake, it’s only a matter of time before you give in to temptation. Give yourself permission to eat. Deprivation only leads to craving, binging, and ultimately, weight gain. 

2. Find a balance – You don’t have to go to extremes to see results. Find a way of eating that feels good for you and provides the nourishment your body needs. Understand your relationship with food: Why do you turn to food when you’re feeling stressed or down? What role does food play in your life?

3. Be mindful – Pay attention to your hunger cues and eat when you’re truly hungry. Eating mindlessly can lead to overeating and weight gain. Address your emotional eating: If emotional eating is a problem for you, learn some strategies for dealing with your emotions in a healthy way.

4. Respect your body – Accepting your body as it is will help you develop a healthy relationship with food and your body. Trying to change your body shape through dieting will only lead to frustration and discouragement. Start treating your body with respect and love, regardless of its size or shape.

5. Focus on health, not weight – The scale is not an accurate measure of health. Instead, focus on how you feel physically and emotionally. If you’re feeling good, chances are you’re doing something right! Find a non-diet health professional to help you meet your health goals in a way that is honoring to your body.

Diets do more harm than good because they are restrictive and unrealistic. Diets, as a rule, force people to deny their bodies the fuel they need, creating cravings and binge eating down the line. It’s also hard to stick to, which can lead to feelings of failure and self-loathing. People who diet often become obsessed with food, indulging in forbidden foods or hating themselves for what they cannot eat.

The real solution is to change the relationship with food and with yourself. 

If you would like a step-by-step plan to stop dieting and heal your relationship with food, please book a quick 20 minute call with me so that I can help you get started.

About the author:

Stel Coombe-Heath is a certified health and life coach specialising in body image, spirituality, emotional eating, and women’s empowerment. She’s the woman behind the brand Wholesome Lifestyle Project with a vision of a future where women are no longer ashamed of their bodies, where young girls don’t feel guilty about what they eat and draw their self-worth from within, not from what they look like on the outside.

When she is not facilitating transformations around relationships with food and the body, she hosts the “Beyond overeating by wholesome lifestyle project” podcast, and is a published author of the Amazon #1 bestseller “Reclaim your inner goddess”

Stel struggled with a disordered relationship with food and her body for over 13 years, battling two eating disorders, body dysmorphia, and emotional eating. She is now passionate about a future where women and young girls are no longer ashamed of their bodies.

As a holistic health recovery specialist and body image coach, Stel infuses yoga, mindfulness, and emotional resilience into her consultations with clients.