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Is freedom from food struggles possible?

By Michelle May, M.D.

My passion is helping people who want freedom from food struggles. I love to help them break their eat-repent-repeat cycle to live the vibrant life they crave!

Rethink your relationship with foodThe challenge is that the people I can help the most often don’t believe it is possible for them. Here are just a few of the reasons they have doubts that hold them back from freedom from food struggles:

  • They have struggled (often secretly) for so long, they don’t trust themselves to be able to finally break free from the frustrating patterns that hold them hostage.
  • They’ve wasted a lot of time, money, and energy trying different diets and programs, but keep getting the same result: Short-term changes followed by guilt and discouragement.
  • They think they’ve tried everything. (They will be so surprised to discover that the thing they haven’t tried is actually the simplest!)
  • They talk themselves out of doing anything right now because it isn’t the “right” time. Day by day, their life is passing them by while they hope for something to change.

This all just makes me so sad!

If this sounds like you but there is still a part of you that believes there must be a better way, this email was written for you!

An invitation to begin your journey to freedom!

I know the freedom you crave is possible because I found it for myself first, and have shared the path with thousands of other people.

As I said, it is my passion!

So, if you might be ready for the journey, I’d love to have you join me next Tuesday for a complimentary Mini-Retreat! This will be a small sample of the work we do together at our longer retreats, like our upcoming 3-day Virtual Retreat.

In order to participate in this Mini-Retreat at no charge, you need to do just THREE things:

  1. First, scroll down to the Comments section and share the biggest struggle you are having with your eating right now.
  2. After you post, click here to register for our Mini-Retreat.
  3. Download Zoom and set up a computer camera and microphone so you can participate in the retreat. If you need help, click here: How to join a Zoom meeting.

Mini-Retreat Details

Date: Tuesday, September 15, 2020
Time: 5 – 6 pm PDT (check your time zone here)
Where: On Zoom. You’ll receive your link when you register.

There will be NO recording of this event! It is designed to be personal and interactive, so it is only for live participants.

Once you’ve posted your biggest eating struggle in the Comments below (see the three steps above), click here to complete your Mini-Retreat Registration!

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About the author

Michelle May, M.D. is a recovered yo-yo dieter and the founder of the Am I Hungry?® Mindful Eating Programs and Training. She is the award-winning author of Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat: A Mindful Eating Program to Break Your Eat-Repent-Repeat Cycle , winner of seven publishing awards. She is also the author of Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat with Diabetes, Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat for Binge Eating, and Am I Hungry? Mindful Eating for Bariatric Surgery. Michelle shares her compelling message and constructive keynotes with audiences around the country, offers workplace wellness programs, and has trained and licensed hundreds of health professionals to facilitate Am I Hungry?® Mindful Eating Programs worldwide. She has been featured on Dr. Oz, the Discovery Health Channel, and Oprah Radio, and quoted in Diabetic Living, Fitness, Health, Huffington Post, Parents, Self, USA Weekend, US News & World Report, WebMD and many others. Her personal success story was published in Chicken Soup for the Dieter's Soul. Michelle cherishes her relationships with her husband, Owen and grown children, Tyler and Elyse. She regularly enjoys practicing yoga and hiking near her home in Phoenix, Arizona. She and Owen, a professional chef, share a passion for gourmet and healthful cooking, wine tasting, photography, and traveling.

176 Comments

  1. Christine says:

    Feel like I can never be happy in my current weight. Always wanting to drop 10 more pounds but it ends up being a restrict binge cycle.

    • It’s such a vicious cycle! In our weight-obsessed culture, it is challenging to accept ourselves as we are. Yet when we chase weight-loss, we move further from the peaceful, joyful relationship that is possible with food and our body!

  2. Rachael says:

    I always feel like I am craving sweets, and then feel deprived if I don’t eat them. I always feel like I want more food, even if I just ate a satisfying and filling meal.

    • You are not alone Rachael! Once we help you break out of the good food/bad food thought pattern and show you how to figure out what your cravings are about, you can enjoy sweets without feeling like you are out of control.

  3. Michelle says:

    Working from home food is always so easy. I don’t even notice and all of a sudden I am eating.

  4. Gavin says:

    Realizing I eat to help my mood. As long as there is yummy food in my mouth I seem to feel better. I eat unconsciously, not really recognizing exactly what is happening until the bag is empty. So much extra energy is getting stored that it is impacting my health in many ways. I feel disgusted with myself, calling myself sloppy, screwed up. Deep down I am terrified, realizing I’m doing exactly what my dad did: gained weight, heart disease then died of a stroke. With my doctor’s phone call last month, I’m right on schedule. I am so disappointed with myself, but I’m stuck and can’t seem to change course. I’m going to really blame myself if my family has to suffer because of my inability to address my eating related health problems.

    • Gavin, it sounds like you are trying to shame yourself into “being good.” That never works! I promise that although you feel overwhelmed by all of your triggers, there is a way to peel back these layers and develop a sustainable approach to eating. See you Tuesday!

  5. Cheryl says:

    My biggest struggle is mindless snacking (usually sweet) especially at night. Add to that working from home during the pandemic and increased snacking to stuff down stress.

  6. Katie says:

    I continually keep throwing money into diets that I don’t stick to and get unbelievably mad at myself when I fail. Everything is black and white for me. It’s either good or bad. It’s frustrating. I just want to stay at a healthy weight and not obsess.

  7. Katie says:

    I don’t see a link to sign up for the mini retreat

  8. Traci says:

    My biggest struggle is eating when I have some other need besides being physically hungry. I seem to defer to eating food to meet a variety of needs not associated with physical hunger.

    I have made a lot of progress on my recovery from dosordered eating, but just don’t know what to do next.

    • Your next step is perhaps the most important: Learning to recognize and meet your needs without always turning to food. (And by the way, food can be ONE way you comfort and soothe yourself, but expanding your options for meeting your needs will make your life bigger and more balanced!)

  9. Chris says:

    I eat whenever I watch TV.

    • Since watching TV is a passive activity, eating may be adding a sensory dimension to this two-dimensional activity. Perhaps you could experiment with adding other activities while watching TV. Some of my past participants have found that doing puzzles, stained glass, needle work, drawing, playing with Legos, etc. adds another dimension.

  10. Holly says:

    My biggest struggle is knowing I am eating my feelings and yet not having the willpower to stop in addition to the expense of healthy foods. I’m always going to do better on Monday. The right Monday never comes. Now my family makes me feel bad so I hide the food and it’s even worse. With the quarantine and job loss stress is causing hair loss and Healthy food is so much more expensive than ramen noodles or Mac and cheese.

    • You have a lot going on Holly! Emotional eating, restrictive thoughts about what you “should” be eating, guilt, and stress are all fueling the cycle. It probably feels overwhelming but there is hope! I’m glad you will be joining us Tuesday, but you know it is going to take more than an hour to resolve all this! Since finances are an issue, start with this free download of chapter 1 of Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat: https://www.amihungry.com/chapter1. If it makes sense, the book is an affordable way to begin to shift the way you are approaching eating.

  11. Mary says:

    I eat because I am bored or anxious or upset when I’m not physically hungry.

  12. Sara says:

    Being aware of my feelings that are triggers without being engulfed by them.

  13. Susan says:

    My biggest struggle is being able to say no to food when I know I’m not hungry! I have always struggled with using my voice. And then I get mad at myself for not standing my ground.

  14. Lilia says:

    The biggest struggle I have is stopping thoughts about finding something to eat when I am not hungry. I redirect my thoughts after I gauge my hunger (like a 4 or 5! — NOT hungry), but keep thinking about food. I need to stop planning what I’ll eat when I do get hungry (figure it out later!). I’m finding it’s getting harder to redirect myself, especially with fall settling in (cooler weather, rainy, etc — can’t get outside.).

    • An important shift that takes place as you learn this new way of thinking is that it is not about “stopping thoughts” about eating. It is really about creating a bigger life with lots of things you love to do, so that eating is only one of many appealing options! See you Tuesday!

  15. Jodi says:

    I have Lost belief in nyself. I break my self promises every day. I am a binge eater and eat food secretly. I am 48 and have steuggled for 40 years. I am so tired of the struggle and how much of my time and energy and thoughts are spent on my weight and eating! Sorry i think that is more than 1 struggle.

    • Yes, Jodi, it is more than one struggle – but our relationships with food and our body are complicated! The good news is that even though it can feel overwhelming at times, we have worked with SO many people who have been able to heal those relationships and find new ways to care for themselves. Please don’t give up; this could be a turning point!

  16. Maria says:

    I agree with Katie. So much money and time spent. I want a better relationship with food and to walk in freedom….nourishing my body for a healthy, vibrant life!

    • Maria, it’s not just you and Katie! The research is clear that diets don’t work long term for the vast majority of people! I love your vision of walking in freedom and nourishing your body for a healthy (or can I say “balanced”), vibrant life! It is possible – but first you have to stop wasting your time and money on dieting!

  17. Lish says:

    I snack when there are snacks around and won’t stop till it’s all gone. I know that I should be portioning and exercising self control, but it’s a case of once you start you just can’t stop with me. I have stopped buying snacks because of this but that’s not the solution I realise as I am still exposed to a lot of snacks at various settings.

  18. Dean says:

    I know what to eat to make me feel happy and healthy in my body. I stick to it for months on end, really enjoying my food, and feeling great. My joints stop aching, I take more exercise, I feel more clear….. Then….. I have no idea what happens. I lose concentration and start eating rubbish I don’t even enjoy.

  19. Jonathan says:

    My biggest struggle is staying consistent with my eating plans when life gets busy or stressful. It’s seems like I have such a small margin for error that all it takes is a little unplanned or unexpected event and everything gets knocked of course and it can take days or weeks to get back on course sometimes. I also over eat when I feel. Happy, sad, worried, frustrated are all ‘good’ reasons for eating in my book.

  20. Dolores says:

    My biggest struggle is that when I sit down to eat my mind is going 120 mph. I cannot seem to transition to “Well, now it’s time to eat.” I’m either still reeling from what I was doing, and/or I am thinking of what I still have to do. I can’t seem to stop my thoughts long enough to disconnect from my to-do list/busy life to “now it’s time to re-fuel” The result is that I am chomping away to the tune of visualizing problems, chores, errands, projects. Before I know it, my food is gone and I didn’t taste or enjoy a thing. To add insult to injury, my retired husband sits and enjoys his food. He’s a big help to me around the house and he volunteers where I work, so he really helps. But he’s never had a problem and I get so jealous of his ability to move from one thing to another without the worries of the world in his head!

  21. Patricia says:

    Food has always found a way to comfort me, and it was a way to share good times with friends. But eating also makes me feel guilty, so I hide what I eat sometimes, and that makes me feel awful. I don’t exercise as I should. Then the weight came on. I love food but also can hate it. It is like having a mean friend. Just a vicious cycle.
    I also had cancer that “destroyed” my body. I don’t like to look at it. So I think a part of me figures that the weight can’t make me look any worse, so enjoy the food.

    • I understand a love-hate relationship with food! It is normal to find comfort in eating. It is important to also have other ways to comfort yourself. Unfortunately, when you feel guilty and eat secretly, it tends to drive more emotional eating! I’m so glad you are joining us on Tuesday.

  22. Lynda says:

    Nighttime eating is one of my biggest struggles right now.

  23. Tammy says:

    I ask myself , “Am I hungry?” when I am thinking about eating. I think about what level of hunger I am at and then I go ahead and eat anyway! What is wrong with me? It’s frustrating because I feel like I have no control and can’t seem to talk myself out of NOT eating!

  24. Javonne says:

    Menopause, trying to figure out how to eat to lose weight and keep it off. Craving carbs late evening.

  25. Ellen says:

    Frustration is probably the biggest driver. The longer the day goes on, the more frustrated I become. Then, I’m too tired at night to remember to stop eating. I’m fine all day, usually making healthy choices…but come 4:30 PM, I get increasingly irrational.

    • If you are trying to manage your eating with willpower, afternoons and evenings can be high risk time for eating. By then, stress, frustration, and willpower run out. It sounds like it is time to find a new way to manage your eating Ellen!

  26. Caroline says:

    My struggle is eating when I am bored or feeling like I’m not good enough. Also night time eating. I had bariatric surgery 6 weeks ago and the night time eating is already creeping back in its such a struggle.

  27. Suzannah says:

    I struggle with social eating. I always eat more than I should, and most times when I’m not really hungry.

    • The thing is Suzannah, eating adds another pleasurable dimension to social events! The question is why has that become a trigger for overeating for you. Once we figure that out, you can literally “have your cake and eat it too!”

  28. Adrienne says:

    Feeling like food is my enemy and wishing I could exist without having to eat. Needing to quit eating dairy and gluten to heal my gut but rebelling against that so not progressing with healing.

  29. Mildred says:

    It is taking all of my mental energy to not binge. I am trying to focus on what I’m feeling and what am I seeking emotionally but at the end of the day it seems as if I am white knuckling my way through each day right now. I’ve been binge free for 4 months and don’t know how long I can ride this out. I want to believe I’m on the verge of realizing something profound, but the reality is I’ve been here hundreds of times over the past 5 decades and it doesn’t last.

  30. Anna says:

    Despite all the years of work on myself, food is still my primary nurturer. I don’t use it to avoid feelings, I use it to take the edge off feeling too much – much of the time. I also take in pleasure from eating good delicious food. Some say it’s only the first couple of bites that are truly pleasurable. Nope. Not for me. If it’s delicious, every bite is delicious.

    • Anna, I really don’t believe there is anything wrong with getting comfort and pleasure from eating wonderful food! Building a great relationship with food is more about creating a bigger life so food isn’t the only way you care for and entertain yourself. If you haven’t learned how to use the Mindful Eating Cycle to guide you it can be difficult to see how it is possible to move beyond that.

  31. JoAnne says:

    I am always looking for the next best thing to help me loose weight. I’ve tried so many diets and when they don’t work, I move on to the next thing I find. Im always in diet mentally but never losing weight.

    • You know what they say about doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results! And to be clear, different diets are still diets. I am so glad you will be joining us Tuesday to consider a truly different way to manage your eating.

  32. Kimberly says:

    My worst time is eating when I am alone. I have grazed on anything available until I decide to stop. It always results in feeling disgusted with my actions.

    • Kimberly, it will be helpful for you to think about what it is about being alone that triggers you. Is it loneliness? Boredom? Or maybe that is the only time you let yourself eat what you really want? Or do you fear others judging you for what you eat? Just a little food for thought…

  33. Tammy says:

    I have an extremely stressful job and eat to help reward and comfort myself. I know this is not healthy. I’m caught in that horrible cycle and need help to break it.

  34. Penny says:

    I struggle with not being hungry during the day, if I do have something I choose high calorie sweets or sometimes I’m good and I drink a protein shake. Then come dinner time I am starving and eat until I’m stiffed and I eat snacks until bedtime Alot of the time a binge during “snack” time, especially if I’m alone. I hate myself for not being able to be skinny, why can’t I eat normal? I had bariatric surgery to be a tool to help me be skinny and I have failed myself on more time.

  35. Beatriz says:

    I’ve been trying to eat mindfully, and it seems that during the day is a lot easier. At night, when I have finished all my day’s activities, I found myself thinking on what else to eat even though I’m not hungry. It seems that, if my mind is no longer busy with the day matters, it focuses just on food.

    • Evenings are a high risk time for eating for a lot of people, for a lot of different reasons Beatriz! It could be boredom or loneliness, or maybe you are using food to calm down or reward yourself after a busy day. It is also likely that you are tired. It will be helpful to work on sorting out what you are thinking and feeling when this is going on so you can then figure out additional ways to meet your needs during that time. We work on this sort of thing all the time so have confidence that it will get better!

  36. LB says:

    I struggle letting go of the rituals I’ve created with late-night eating.

    • LB, start with getting curious about why! Are you bored, lonely, tired, rewarding yourself, and so on? Once you begin to uncover why, you can start to experiment with other ways of meeting your needs. You can do this and we’d love to support you!

  37. Jo says:

    I struggle to eat healthy while I take care of my children and family. I end up skipping or delaying my meals.. I’m also wanting guidance on how to love my body as its changed quite a bit in the past several years after having three kids.

    • It sounds like you are a great mom! You’ve heard the saying that you can’t pour from an empty cup: it is important to prioritize your own self-care. (Imagine if one of your children was really hungry and you just kept telling them to wait!) Learning this process will also help you as you raise your children to maintain their instinctive eating.
      In terms of body image, our culture promotes the idea that bodies shouldn’t change – even as they are having babies, aging, becoming ill or injured, and so on. But they absolutely do! Our bodies are not merely decoration for others to judge; they are amazing vehicles that move us through the world to do everything we want and need to do!

  38. Darlene says:

    I have been a lifelong binge eater. I have tried to manage my out of control eating through restrictive dieting. I’ve spent the last 50+ years in this destructive cycle with my weight fluctuating up and down the scale. Today my weight is once again on the high end of the scale having packed on 30 pounds during this pandemic.

  39. Tiffany says:

    Erasing bad habits that I have been practicing for decades, such as eating slowly and not eating until full which turns into overly full. Trying to discern what to eat to feel better for nutritional purposes. There is so much information out there.

    • You are so right! All the advice out there is confusing, and even conflicting. I like a much simpler approach: All foods can fit in a balanced diet! When you relearn to manage your eating without rules, you are able to use the feedback your body gives you to make decisions that feel great!

  40. Ana says:

    I feel like I always take two steps forward and three steps back. I tell myself that I can never lose weight and always seem to rationalize me eating the ice-cream, chips, or whatever I know I do not need to eat.

    • Ana, if you take your focus off your weight and what you eat to change your weight, you may be surprised to notice that food begins to lose its power over you. This is one of the hardest concepts to believe until you experience it for yourself. See you Tuesday!

  41. Sheila says:

    My biggest struggle with eating is OVEREATING. I cannot stop eating once I start. Have very guilty feelings after I overeat but the cycle just repeats each day.

  42. Diane says:

    In my current situation, I struggle with reactive stress eating. I have also been finding myself often eating very quickly and not enjoying my food as I should due to this. Mentally, I know that slowing down and taking time to enjoy my food (including the preparation and presentation) actually helps to ease my stress level. Still, I fall into unhealthy patterns.

    • The problem with stress eating is that it only works temporarily – but you seem to know that Diane. Knowing and doing are two different things! We can work on identifying the triggers that lead up to it and how to implement a more mindful approach to your eating that will actually feel good!

  43. Emily says:

    I struggle with black-out binge eating. I know as I do it, it isn’t healthy or what I really even want to be doing. But it’s almost as if I black-out like when you drink and you don’t remember what you are doing. The next day begins the cycle of guilt and shame. Avoiding food all day because I overate, and then starving and repeating the cycle. I can’t seem to shake off these habits no matter what I try – moving away from diet culture, “If I bite it, write it” and even meditation.

  44. Eric says:

    It seems one common thread in breaking out of my calorie budget routine is romantic frustrations, sexual frustrations, loneliness – almost the opposite of what seems to happen with romantic fulfillment. – Frustration, out of control, loneliness, even hopelessness, seem to be apt adjectives.

    • Eric, it is interesting that you describe feelings of deprivation in the romantic/sexual/connection aspect of your life, while also trying to keep to a calorie budget – another form of deprivation! Perhaps removing the restriction in your eating and using a more mindful approach to decision-making will free up some of your energy to focus on building satisfying relationships?

  45. Thomas says:

    The biggest problem I have with eating is board eating and sweets at night

    • Of course! After all, eating is something to do when you’re bored, and sweets add the pleasure you may be missing from your evenings. It’s simple but not easy: begin experimenting with lots of new things to do when you are bored, especially other ways to add pleasure to your life. I’d love to help you figure that out!

  46. Malissa says:

    I’ve eaten unhealthy food for so long, I don’t know how to transition to making healthy choices that nourish my body.

  47. Marischka says:

    I struggle with head hunger vs. real hunger. I often stop and ask myself am I really hungry? When did I last eat? Do I feel triggered? However years later this is still an uphill battle for me. Sometimes I feel like I have a fear of being hungry 🤷🏽‍♀️

  48. Tina says:

    My biggest struggle is honestly meal prep, that and thinking that I should be dieting…wanting to fall back into that diet cycle, because I feel like a failure with Gastric Bypass.

    • Tina, I wish more people understood that bariatric surgery doesn’t “fix” a broken relationship with food. In fact, for many people, it can make it worse because it is like a permanent diet. First, forgive yourself. Despite all the messages you have gotten, you didn’t fail! Now, what are you going to do to heal that broken relationship with food?

  49. Gila says:

    I’m a type 2 diabetic with a sweet tooth. Not a great combination. I struggle with eating something, just because the thought pops into my head, whether I am hungry or not. It’s become an activity rather than nourishment.

  50. Bonnie says:

    Watching tv and all the commercials drive me to the kitchen.

    • They spend billions of dollars on advertising food to us so we will eat food we don’t really need! When you notice you feel like eating, ask yourself whether your body needs food or whether they are just trying to make money off you. And, as I’ve shared with others here, this could also be related to boredom, feeling tired, lonely, rewarding yourself, and so on. It’s complex but we can get to the bottom of it!

  51. Amy says:

    Working so hard to lose weight, and then gaining it back (or more)

    • Amy, what most people don’t realize is that making changes in order to lose weight often backfires. I suggest you focus on your well-being instead! How do you want to feel? That will help guide your eating, physical activity, and self-care choices much better long term.

  52. Leslie says:

    Food is not something that can just be stopped…and I’m not good at “have to’s”…so diets don’e work, but a lack of energy and boredom make food my hobby.

    • You’re right Leslie! We have to eat, so we might as well eat in a way that is nourishing and nurturing. The problem comes in when we attempt to use food to meet all of our needs – entertainment, pleasure, comfort, and so on. The good news is that once you learn how to make your decisions without trying to “stop” yourself from eating, you can enjoy food and feel better!

  53. Virginia says:

    Eating when I am not hungry – “boredom” at work. Although I am not really bored, but I am working at the computer all afternoon and want something to eat to break the monotony.

    • I get it Virginia! It’s not that we don’t have enough to do, it’s just that we don’t really want to do it! Eating seems to add a little bit of pleasure and distraction and gives you the break you probably need. The challenge is that if you aren’t done with the work so it seems hard to justify taking a break, so you eat instead! A good place to start is to plan a REAL break! Give yourself 10 minutes away from your computer to do something fun and relaxing. It isn’t easy but it works!

  54. Linda says:

    I am struggling with snacking – too much time at home computer and too many snacks around. even if i remove them from easy access, and if they are healthy snacks, i feel like i am snacking all the time!

    • It’s probably not about the snacks themselves Linda, but what they are doing for you. If you can figure out whether they are giving you pleasure, distraction, a quick pick-me-up, etc., then you can begin to plan other ways to take a little break when you need it. Not easy but very effective!

  55. Muriel says:

    I eat when things and people out of my control stress me out – basically daily. I’m working on trying to eat what I actually like in moderation and to the middle hunger/fullness scale, except that I truly don’t know what healthy moderation looks or feels like!
    I don’t want anymore diets, and I need to lose weight for my health (life!) and learn to once again prepare healthier but tasty meals and I want to lose for my own confidence and self-esteem.

    • Muriel, I know it seems like weight loss is the answer, but since it is rarely effective long term, can you focus on your well-being instead? You are already practicing a few new skills, and when you figure out what moderation feels like, you will be amazed at how much better you feel. I’d love to help you get there!

  56. Barb says:

    I find myself eating emotionally especially after watching news, working on tough projects, and procrastinating. Sweets and chocolate are my go-to foods — eat even when I am not at all hungry. And go for more… and more…

    • Yes Barb, these are stressful times! My guess from your brief description is that food is giving you the “sweetness” you might be missing in your life right now. Can you think of additional ways to bring more pleasure into your day? I’d love to help you figure this out!

  57. Karla says:

    Snacking at night, eating when not hungry, eating because its time to eat.

  58. Jennifer says:

    I feel like I am always hungry. Even when I choose healthy, low calorie-density foods that should be filling, I cannot feel satisfied and full. If I eat more than 1500 calories a day, I gain weight. So unfair! 🙁

  59. Michele says:

    I think the hardest part of my maintenance after losing 125 lbs a dozen years ago during the pandemic is that I’m trying to hold maintenance in the face of not being able to be as physically active- yeah – I’ve got. Zoom Pilates – but I’m a New Yorker and missing the outdoors with my chronic conditions!;( and I’m a patient advocate!!

  60. VALERIE says:

    I eat emotionally, during stress and just to do something. It has been a ruff second haft of 2018 and fist half of 2019. lost both parents in 6 months apart. I wanted to be a better me for my wedding in June 2020 but with Covid, did not have the will power to do it. I did come to grips with my weight for my dress and everyone thought it looked good, but not in my mind. I have struggled to get started on the plan and need something to help kick me in gear to get going.

    • I’m so sorry for your losses Valerie! I hope you can focus on the significance and beauty of your wedding day rather than what you perceived was wrong. I honestly don’t think kicking ourselves into gear is what is really needed. Instead, it is compassion, gentleness, support, and self-care for this essential journey of building a life we love. I’d love to help you get there!

  61. Ginny says:

    I have been overweight since I was six years old. My biggest struggles are mindless eating, binge eating, and nighttime secret eating.

  62. Danette says:

    Doctor has asked me to gain 10-12 pounds because I am underweight. If I eat mindfully, my body is not gaining weight. In fact, I have lost weight since starting the Eat What You Love program. My initial weight loss was unintended and due to extreme stress.

  63. Paula says:

    Late night eating. Usually due to being tired I think.

  64. Murphy says:

    I have started on a journey of mindful eating and it’s scary. I grew up in Ireland eating mainly potatoes and butter and having a full belly for every meal. A mother’s love was shown in the scones and pancakes and filling a child with food. If I’m not full and I mean full irish style I feel like something is missing. I feel rather empty emotionally so I’m trying to fill that void but all is a struggle.

  65. Alice says:

    Food is something I use to hide my emotions. I have been doing this for over a decade now and now it is time for me to let go of the hurt that has been holding me down and let the emotions in and not let the food bring me down to the point where I need to eat. I need to be able to gain a healthy relationship with food so I can eat all my go to foods without feeling shameful or guilty. Because that is what I feel now and there is no way I can stop that cycle. I’m just going round and round in circles. It doesn’t matter how many people I see no matter how many people step into help I just can’t seem to get off. I’m loosing my family because of my eating. Which is bringing out more emotions which is not good which means I eat more to hide them. All I want is love from my family and to love myself.

  66. Kathi says:

    Biggest struggle is candy cravings. One piece leads to another. Very hard to stop eating “just one more”. But no candy leaves me feeling deprived.

    • Enjoying candy (even craving it) is normal! So the question is why does it feel so hard to stop? Some of things we can explore include whether you attempt to restrict it or tell yourself, “I shouldn’t be eating this!” That alone can lead to fear of deprivation, even as you are eating it. (Chapter 5 of Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat has an activity called Fearless Eating that really helps with this!)

  67. Ann says:

    In the last few years I’ve lost alot of weight by being very restrictive with my diet. Now during the pandemic social distancing, I’ve been baking and cooking alot of ‘comfort’ foods. I feel a bit out of control.

  68. Tanya says:

    My biggest struggle is emotional eating (stress, anger, tired, etc). I was doing really well last year after reading your book but the pandemic and losing my Mom has set me back. I’m working on improving my habits again!

    • I’m sorry to hear about your Mom Tanya. This has been a stressful time. As you know from your initial work on this, it is really about learning how to meet your needs better so food can become a way your nurture yourself, without it being your only option for self-care. Some additional support will help you move in the direction you want to go.

  69. Rosemarie says:

    I was really helped a couple of years ago when I went through the Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat program, but recently, I’ve struggled with eating mindfully and finding a better outlet for stress. I liked the accountability and objective input I had working with an instructor, but now it seems like I can’t say “no” to cravings, which leads to binge eating and I tend to do it in secret/when I’m alone.

  70. Donna says:

    Stuffing in food when I’m not even hungry…then going back for even more when no one is around

  71. Kelley says:

    I had lost 40 lbs a couple years ago and looked and felt great but have gained it all back. I’ve had to buy new bigger clothes. That was like 2 bags of my dog’s food I’d lost! I had done it by a restrictive low carb diet. I am so frustrated with myself because I have gained it all back and I find I bake cookies for my family – just so I can eat warm chocolate chip cookies out of the oven. I’m like a secret cookie monster…and wine – I love a glass of wine – but I have a glass and then end up snacking more!

  72. Helen says:

    My biggest issue is overeating/mindless eating. I’ve dieted most of my adult life, and I’m tired of it. I exercise 6 days a week but can’t seem to take better care of myself with food.

    • Helen, physical activity is one of the greatest predictors of health so you are doing a great thing for you body, mind, and spirit! We can help you with the eating piece – but I promise, it won’t involve another futile diet!

  73. Alissa says:

    I have been going through a lot of pandemic depression, academic stress, and the unexpected loss of a good friend, so my mindless eating is out of control.

  74. Lori says:

    The thing I struggle with the most is that its comforting to me. I eat when I’m happy, when I’m bored, when I am sad, it doesn’t matter, I just eat. I had lost 40 lbs almost 2 years ago, and then proceeded to gain back about 1/2 of it. I’m an intelligent person, but can’t seem to figure out how to tame the desire to keep eating!

    • I often hear this sort of thing from people who are very successful in their lives, Lori, which tells me that YOU didn’t fail, the diet failed you! Remember that food is naturally comforting and pleasurable. Once we help you develop new skills for meeting your needs, eating can be just that without being the primary way you attempt to take care of yourself.

  75. Aymi says:

    right now i find myself with a lot of stress-eating — well, mostly, stress over-eating as my portion-sizes have grown. i’m a teacher and starting school virtually has led to a lot of new and varied stressors than even in the spring, when covid led to “crisis teaching”; now it’s just more of a controlled, anticipated, and planned-for level of crisis teaching. since i’m having new and unanticipated stressors, i don’t have better coping skills than food yet.

    • My daughter is a teacher, so I have seen firsthand what you are going through Aymi! Stress is a real emotion that needs an outlet, so you are doing the best you can with the coping skills you currently have. My guess is that the stress isn’t going away anytime soon (and there will always be new sources of stress), so the next step is to learn to understand what is happening when you are triggered to eat so you can meet your needs even better than eating.

  76. Amy says:

    When I have a project to do, that I don’t want to do, I initially distract myself with food. I am then mad at myself for giving into stress trigger and fact that no real progress has been made on project.

    • I call this “procrastineating” Amy! I haven’t struggled with food for more than 20 years now, but I still sometimes find myself wanting to get a snack when I don’t want to keep (or start) working. Trust me, the beauty of this particular trigger is that it passes quickly when you address the real reason you want to eat!

  77. Lynda says:

    My biggest struggle is mindless, secret eating. I fear another failure and I fear restriction.

  78. Karen says:

    My biggest struggle is staying on target and being consistent. I get enthused and follow guidelines & do well & boom seem to forget everything.

  79. Colleen says:

    I generally don’t have a sensation of fullness and if there is food around I’ll eat it. I feel the need to finish food and not waste it. I have knowledge just not the willpower to do better.

    • Isn’t it interesting how very old messages, like “don’t waste food, there are starving children in _____” can drive our eating decisions as adults Colleen? This is yet another area where our mindful eating approach really excels for overcoming these old habits. (And by the way, no willpower required!)

  80. Terry says:

    I am obsessed with food, with chewing, with eating. I use food as a reward, stress Reliever and a distraction. I don’t like to cook, so eat junk food all day.

    • That is a lot to ask of food Terry! One of the reasons you feel like you want to eat all day is that eating can only comfort, distract, and entertain us temporarily. You are needing to re-dose yourself over and over. As you learn even better, lasting ways of caring for yourself, food can serve its purpose even better – to nurture and nourish you!

  81. Molly says:

    The feeling of fullness is pure comfort for me. If I’m unable to sleep. Eating resolves this.

  82. Colleen says:

    Honestly my hardest time is anytime I’m in the kitchen. I go into cabinet and gouge on cookies or chips

  83. Sue says:

    My biggest struggle is tuning into what I am hungry for and then figured out what I have on hand that would satisfy the physical and emotional need.

    • You didn’t say, but I am curious about whether you are hungry when you are making this decision. (If you haven’t read it yet, in Chapter 5 of Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat, I explained the three questions to ask yourself for deciding what to eat: What do I want? What do I need? and What do I have?)

  84. Lori says:

    I am so tired of going on diets and wondering and worrying about what I need to eat this week. How many carbs? Protein? What amount? I am just flat burned out on diets. I have been on so many. I lose weight, gain more, then repeat the cycle for the past 20 years. I am heavier than I have ever been. I workout 5 days per week, run and do crossfit and I just can’t get myself to go on yet, another restrictive diet, but I do need to lose weight. Help!

    • Lori, the most common outcome of any attempt to diet to lose weight is weight cycling – so you are not alone! At this point, can you ask yourself what you think losing weight will do for you? Do you want more energy, better health, etc? There is no need to postpone those results! They are available to you in the choices you make right now! I’d love to help you with this.

  85. Brenda says:

    Just not taking the time to stop and check in with my hunger level. Have had a preference to use mindless eating for a while now. Am beginning to become aware of how this might be affecting my overall health and know it’s important to take a closer look at other ways to support myself.

  86. Joan says:

    Weight struggles since childhood with little success in weight loss. Think about needing to lose weight all the time. Right now have low motivation due to past failure.

    • Joan, as I have shared with several others, the focus on losing weight distracts you from focusing on self-care. You won’t need motivation with our approach and you can’t fail because you are always learning from the feedback your body gives you! I hope you are ready to take a whole new look at this!

  87. kathleen says:

    First, thank you for taking the time out of your day/night to do this training .

    My question is: How does one eat when you have kidney disease (close to having to go back on dialysis, if numbers fall again), type 2 diabetes and autoimmune disease? Plus numerous other health issues. To many to go in here.

  88. David says:

    Biggest struggle is maintaining motivation to do something different than I always have. It just seems like to much work and that even if I do something successful at the moment, I won’t be able to keep it up long-term so it feels rather pointless

    • David, without a doubt, changing old habits is challenging! It is SO much easier to do what you’ve always done – until the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of changing. The problem with most attempts is they are too hard and the changes are too big! The good news is that smaller, easier changes are far more effective and sustainable than a huge temporary overhaul. I’m so glad you are going to give this a try!

  89. Ruth says:

    I attended the mini retreat yesterday and am ashamed to say that I did not have the video going because I was, of course, eating. I am a binge eater which recently has escalated enormously, ever since Covid 19. I am eagerly awaiting the email you said at the end of the retreat you would send to us binge eaters.

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