Natalie Hodson
May 19, 2016
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Struggling with Emotional Eating?

I get asked a lot about emotional eating – and to be totally honest, it’s something I have struggled a lot with too. I am nowhere near perfect and I still struggle with it from time to time, but I want to help share my experiences and the tools I use that help me get out of that vicious cycle of feeling bad about myself, which leads to emotional eating, which leads to me feeling worse about myself, and repeat.

Work on your thought processes

Let’s say you had a really bad day, and everything seems to be going wrong. You spilled coffee on your shirt. Your boss yelled at you. You had a flat tire on the way home. Your kids were crying all night. Your bank account was overdrawn. It’s easy to look at those situations and say “look at all these awful things that are happening TO me.” The problem with that thinking is it makes you feel like a victim. No wonder we want to reach for food when things feel out of control; it’s something we have 100% of control over!

What I’ve found is when I can take ownership of a situation; when I can turn my thought process from, “this is something that is awful that is happening to me,” to “yes, this sucks, but I’m choosing to respond to it in a positive manner,” it helps me feel stronger and in control. It makes me feel like I don’t need to rely on external factors to make me feel better such as food or shopping.

Be compassionate to yourself

As women, we tend to run out of time for ourselves. We feel obligated to say “yes” even when we don’t have the time or energy to see it through, and it causes a lot of stress and anxiety for us.

When you are willing to set boundaries on your time and resources, and start to carefully choose what you say yes or no to – you show people that you have self respect for yourself and for your time, and that in turn creates more room for you to practice self love and self compassion. By setting healthy boundaries for ourselves, it creates a window of opportunity to focus on self care and self improvement.

Still feeling the urge to indulge in emotional eating? What to eat instead:

There’s just going to be some days that you need some comfort food, and that’s okay too! Here are a few of my favorite snacks that are more healthy for you. The best part about indulging in these, is that it won’t make you feel like you’ve thrown your entire health off track.

*Protein shakes
*Turkey pepperoni with low-fat string cheese and mini bell peppers
*Almonds, cashews,
*Quest bars
*Hardboiled eggs
*Beef jerky or turkey jerky
*Single-serve tuna packages
*Sugar snap peas
*Carrots and celery (these are awesome with the single-serve hummus or guacamole dips from Costco)

I find it also helps to have these items prepped in zip-lock baggies ready to grab and go. I actually keep the nuts on hand in my car, and will usually prep a few snack baggies for me and my kids to enjoy throughout the week. It makes it super simple to choose something healthy, especially when you’re stressed.

These are just a few of my tips for dealing with emotional eating. Of course there are plenty of other avenues you can look into when you feel the urge to start emotional eating such as meditating, reading, going for a walk, calling a friend or family member for extra support, etc. The important thing is to find what works for you and have a gameplan in place for when those emotional eating urges come up.


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