Why Eating Your Emotions Will Always Keep You Hungry [We All Do It + How To Stop]

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know you can agree that there’s nothing better than a glass of vino or a box of thin-mints after a bad day… am I right?

Turning on the Bachelor while tuning out the world.

Just you, drama filled TV, and delectable sugar laden cookies.

That first cookie: ahhhh, pure bliss.

And that first glass of wine: ahhh, let the relaxation commence.

What could have stopped just then – typically continues for another cookie, and another glass. And then another, and then another.

But we justify it because we had BAD day, a stressful week, and nothing seems better than numbing ourselves by abandoning our discipline.

After all, eating healthy is just for weightloss, right? And right know, who could care about that?

But …. the thing is, tomorrow morning will eventually come.

“Man, WHY did I do that? I’m such a failure. Now, I’m even more stressed than before. Why can’t I ever get it right?

I’ll just skip breakfast.

Heck, I’m starving.

I’m already a failure, I might as well go for the donut.

Man, it’s been another bad day…. where are my thin mints?

No… I’ll be “good”, give me some carrots.

But I want the whole bag – I don’t want to have to worry about portions or anything – I just want to tune the world out. And plus, carrots are harmless, right?”

Emotional eating: we’ve all been there.

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But for you, it may not be snacking that you seek to fill that void in your life.

Is it work?

Validation from others?

Striving for a perfect body?

Seeking a significant other?

If you’re not truly hungry/in need of sustenance but find it a constant pattern of reaching for food (healthy or not) – whether you’re having an intense craving, if you’re bored, need comforting, or feeling lonely.

It can be a sign that you’re seeking comfort, entertainment, or trying to a fill an empty void.

And let me tell you: You can’t fill a God-sized hole with a donut.

  • Or a workout.
  • Or following a perfect diet plan.
  • Or a “perfect” body.
  • Or a boyfriend.
  • Or a job.
  • Or money.

But listen: eating healthy & living a disciplined life doesn’t change our worth – but it does more clearly display the truth of our worth.

When we eat with abandon and don’t move our bodies the way God calls us to, our perception of our worth is hampered and tattered- leaving us feeling broken, irritable, worthless.

Regardless of what we see, what we do, or what the outcome is – doesn’t change our WORTH.

BUT we don’t walk in the truth of what we’re really worth unless we’re living a disciplined life.

We aren’t able to see or believe what God says about us when we’re blinded by things that are replacing His intentional role in our life.

Someone who eats kale and runs everyday is worth just as much as someone who binge eats and never exercises.

And even if the kale eating runner seeks her worth in the outcome of her discipline (hoping for a better body, looking for praises in others, etc) rather than the joy of obeying God, she will see herself the same way as the binge eater – empty and searching.

It’s when we combine discipline with trust that we walk in the truth of what God says about us.

Don’t eat well just to look good.

He didn’t say “honor your bodies so that you can look better than the other girls at the beach”

He said “honor your bodies because I told you so. Because I created it. Because I live in it. And I will use you more when you are walking in obedience and discipline trusting that even when I call you to do hard things, you know I control the outcome for your good and my glory”.

It’s a lie to believe that donuts and laziness are going to lead us to growth.

I don’t care if you never lose a pound.

Infact, He doesn’t care.

And on the flip side: He isn’t glorified in the hustle of wanting abs and under-eating. 

He just said: follow me and trust what I say. 

This requires picking up our cross daily.

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Which means denying ourselves our desires to be lazy, to over eat, to find comfort and validation in something other than Him.

If you find yourself seeking comfort in food (whether it’s a chip or a carrot stick) – put it down either way. Food has no morality – you’re not a good person if you eat vegetables, and you’re not a bad person if you eat candy. 

It’s our relationship we have with food (or anything that tries to replace God’s role in our life) that effects so much and how we see ourselves.

Are you confused about if you are an emotional eater or not?

You don’t have to be overweight or severely under-weight to be an emotional eater.

Heck, you don’t even have to have body image issues or an eating disorder to struggle with this – many people (men and women) struggle with this but it’s justified in our society because “food is fuel”.

We use it as the one area of our life to have reckless abandon and numb out our responsibilities. 

When I struggled with this, I looked extremely healthy on the outside but was constantly searching for more on the inside.

I was lean and healthy – which is why it’s not always about your appearance (which I speak a little more about below).

Now, if you feel as if you don’t struggle with emotional eating, these tips could help you with anything that you use to replace God when it comes to feeling lonely or less than.

Simply, replace the word “food/eat” with whatever you’re struggle is (body image, a significant other, money, status, etc).

Signs You’re An Emotional Eater:

  1. Do you look at food as a punishment & as reward?
  2. Do you see food as “good” and as “bad”?
  3. Do you see it as a comfort? As a friend?
  4. Do you allow your relationship with food to effect your mood? Good or bad.
  5. Do you nitpick what you’ve eaten & what you’re going to eat?
  6. Do you often eat without paying attention – just seeking instant gratification?
  7. Do you often eat past the point of satisfied/full enough?
  8. Do you under eat if you’re trying to punish yourself for “messing up”?

If you think this is you, don’t worry – God always provides a way out.

We’re never too far gone in any of our sins – no matter how lost we may feel.

And I’ve given you some self-proclaimed methods to help you start your healing process and start turning to God for comfort.

How To Stop:

  1. Actively choose not to eat when you’re upset – instead, take a few minutes to reflect, pray, or take a few deep breaths, analyzing WHAT you’re feeling and WHY.
  2. Think about what you choose to eat before you choose it – is this what I really want or am I choosing this because it’s easy, comforting, and rewarding?
  3. View food as necessary fuel to accomplish the mission God set before you – it’s meant to be enjoyed and used for energy – it’s not a free for all moment of self indulgence.
    1. Stop viewing food as a measure of worth or a tool for weight loss.
  4. Stop giving food control – live in the TRUTH that God gives you HIS POWER to CHOOSE what you eat & how you feel.
    1. Don’t let what you eat or how you look tell you your worth, your level of beauty, or effect your thoughts/mood/actions/words.
  5. MOVE ON & forgive yourself if/when you do give in to emotional eating.

God knows our struggles.

He knows the things we turn to when we should turn to Him most.

Fighting our flesh is an act of repentance & submission to Jesus – it’s not an undercover vanity chase.

Sure, you may notice your body changing or your view of yourself positively changing once you stop viewing food as comfort or a weapon for punishment & reward – but that’s just another sign of God’s grace.

When we obey Him and seek Him first, we are filled, joyful, confident, and FREE. 

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Let eating well & moving your body in any way you enjoy be a good, worshipful, joyful experience – instead of a guilty hidden idol to feel shame over.

Let it EMPOWER you and make you feel stronger mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Never let it diminish you and make you feel less than.

Are you ready to take the step of crashing down your idol and walking in freedom?

I get that it can be scary to welcome change – good or bad. But here are a few tips to keep in your pocket for when you’re tempted to revert back to your ways of seeking comfort or validation in something other than Christ.

Tips To Sustain This Freedom

  1. Stop comparing yourself/your appearance/your journey to others.
  2. Don’t let the scale or your jean size (or any outcome in life) define your level of obedience to Christ.
    1. Don’t do this for the outward appearance – or the desired outcome – but to finally stop living in defeat, and to finally walk in the truth of who you are and WHOSE you are.
  3. Live in the present – no hampering on past decisions or stressing about future ones – life is more than what we will eat or how we look.
  4. Don’t anticipate defeat – demand triumph. 
    1. For you are a daughter oft the king & HE provides HIS STRENGTH for YOU.
    2. It’s life – there is no race to the finish line – there isn’t even a straight line, it’s actively choosing obedience time and time again & leaning on Him to pick you up when you’re weary.

When we continuously step outside of these parameters of freedom, it hampers our perception of the truth and what Christ says about us. Which, in turn, hampers our ministry and ability to love and serve others well.

When we learn to find JOY in the FREEDOM that DISCIPLINE brings – and when we stop viewing it as restriction, we will walk in a new freedom and peace that we’ve never felt before.

When we stop letting our expected desired outcome (lose weight, make more money, find a spouse, etc) drive us, and instead let ourselves be driven by responding to TRUTH and what God commands – we find that the desires of our hearts change and it’s often easier to choose what we know is right instead of what we want in a fleeting moment.

So, let’s turn our biggest weaknesses into our strongest ministries.

Ask yourself: what mountain do I keep circling? What one thing do I wish I could surrender to God and finally gain control on in my life?

Let’s do it together!

It’s only a lie to believe that this “thing” is worth keeping around – we will never be satisfied until we kick it to the curb.

We are stronger when we pick it up and assert our control over it, rather than when it weighs us down and tells us what to do, think, say.

Deuteronomy 2:3 “You have circled this mountain long enough; Now turn north.”

I hope this left you feeling encouraged and empowered to keep choosing the right thing regardless of what your desires/emotions tell you to do.

The narrow gate is always more rewarding than the path that many travel.

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Related Read: Why I Keep Failing

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