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Intuitive Eating and Emotional Eating Reader Questions

by nina on April 19, 2011

intuitive eating and emotional eating

Last week a reader posted a comment asking some questions about intuitive eating and emotional eating. I am sure that many of you have similar questions and challenges, so this post goes into detail about some of the more common questions like “Healthy eating blogs”, relapsing from intuitive eating, emotional eating and how to change behavior as well as watching for triggers and learning to deal with them.

Q. I feel like there was a time that I “got” intuitive eating and felt free, but as time went on I let restriction creep back into my mind. I will admit that reading “healthy living blogs” fueled that restriction due to the constant barrage of food/exercising/etc.

A. This is a problem faced by many people who have success with intuitive eating – myself included – that we don’t realize that there is still that lurking eating disorder in our psyche that will usually creep back in through the back door in the form of “healthy eating”, “wanting to shed 5 pounds” and an obsession with “healthy” eating blogs and sites.

However it enters, the results are the same. We end up with the obsession again, lose touch with our bodies and are back to the binge-purge cycle. This is one of the major triggers to watch out for – the eating disorder disguised as a “healthy eating” lifestyle.


Q. I lost 30 pounds from restricting and over exercising (exercise bulimia), only to gain 40 back from binge eating on all those things that were ‘bad’.

A. This is classic dieting backlash and why diets do not work. Our bodies were not designed to be in starvation mode and constantly exercising. What’s even worse than the 98% failure rate of diets is that 95% of people will put back even more weight that that originally lost. And this is just the physical consequence – the emotional impact to your self esteem, motivation and mental clarity take a beating after going through this traumatic process over and over again

Q. I so want to start eating intuitively. I don’t care what happens to my weight at this point. I just want to be free of the compulsive behavior. My hardest time is typically at night when my mind says to eat something and eat it now, but my body isn’t hungry. Do you have recommendations for overcoming the mind/body disconnect?

A. The best way is to have alternative coping behaviors in place. For me what worked was having someone to connect with over the phone, a meditation, a relaxation technique or perhaps something else that you enjoy doing. Your body clearly is not hungry but it has become habituated by your late night binge eating. Find an alternative behavior that works for you, practice it for a few weeks and you will see how easy it can be to change our habits and not be at the mercy of compulsions.

Q. Sorry to write so much, but I wanted to post it in the comments so someone else out there who may be experiencing the same thing might read this. I’m loving your site, and it’s helping me get my thoughts together.

A. No problem, your questions are great!

Q. Did you, when you began to eat intuitively, ever binge a few times?

A. There were a few times when I felt that I had “overeaten”, especially around my period. But they were nothing like the chronic binges that I would get into before. And I did not allow it to mentally or emotionally affect my progress. Just get back up and start again if this happens. If you can, try to see what triggered it and then you can deal with that particular situation or trigger in the future.



Q. I have been eating intuitively for the past few weeks and I, out of loneliness, ate two extra pieces of pizza past my fullness. I clearly ate them for emotional reasons. Did this ever happen to you??


A. Yes, there were definitely times when I ate out of boredom or to numb my emotions, but this was less frequent after I started intuitive eating. Certainly MORE feelings came up, more frustration and boredom, but this is all part of the process of creating a new life and paving your own path to recovery. This is where you need to apply recovery and living tools to manage was we always avoided with food.


I also think that a binge as a result of emotions is not such a terrible thing – even when you are an intuitive eater. It can be a good indication of something else being wrong that you need to look at. See it as a gift.

To your complete recovery and freedom,


P.S. If you ever have any specific questions you can leave a comment below, in the Questions Section or on my Facebook wall, so others may get to see it who have similar questions

P.P.S If you haven’t done so already, download my FREE Ebook about Becoming an Intuitive Eater. Just enter your name and email below to obtain instant access.


Nina Vucetic

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

rachel January 5, 2012 at 2:07 pm

I have a question pertaining to eating but it might not be the kind your used to. I am considered underweight and I have been my entire life, despite my best efforts to gain weight. Before in my teens years I would eat a lot and just not gain weight, however now that I’m a little older. My body only feels hungry maybe once a day, usually at night. In the morning when I wake up and in the afternoon I don’t feel hungry I feel sick, which makes me eat very little or nothing at all. I don’t know if this is a disorder or a disease or what but I am tired of looking like a walking skeleton. Do you have any suggestions?


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