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How to Build a Self-Care Toolkit to Conquer Emotional Eating

August 2, 2017

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5 ways to nourish yourself and stop filling up on your feelings

March 26, 2018


When I am too busy to nourish myself, I fill the void in my heart and fill up on my feelings with food, then I don’t feel as bad, well sorta..


Are you a busy woman who gets caught in the emotional eating trap simply because you cant find the time for you self?


Does your “me” time often turn into chocolate and your stress relief is served up as your favourite comfort food, that you feel you deserve after a long overwhelming day?


Believe me you are not alone…..


I grew up believing that the harder I worked and the more I sacrificed, the bigger the reward would be. I was always busy, always saying yes to everything, because if I said “NO” that would mean that I might not be coping and God forbid if I ever let that happen.


So I existed in a constant state of stress and overwhelm, my calendar packed with overdue projects, while I was saying yes to more . To make room for all that business in my life I would stop exercising, skip meals, but boy did I make up for it every night when I felt like I deserved to reward myself with extra food at the end of the day.


 But I was never satiated and I was always hungry for something more.


I didn’t even know that self-nourishing existed, and if you told me about nourishing my self, I would say not now, I am busy and will eat later.


When we're busy and stressed, self-nourishing is usually the first thing to go!


For a long time, when I'd feel anxious or stressed, I'd work right through it, frustrated and resentful the entire time. I figured that the more hours I worked the more I would get done. At the end, not taking care of me resulted in adrenal burn out that claimed six months of my previous life.


I call it my previous life because my life is so nourishing these days.


I certainly learned my lesson and today I know that nourishing myself is the greatest gift I can give myself. Self-care is a major priority for me and I wouldn’t swap it for anything else!


I learned that the only way to get ahead in life is to attend to my needs and invest in myself, so that I can always show up at my best.

For optimal functioning you need to invest in your mind and emotions as well as your physical health.


Based on my experience with my own clients:

  • 95% experience fatigue, frustration and a nagging sense of discontent on a daily basis

  • 90% of women “self-medicate” with food in coping with daily stress and unresolved emotions but are never quite satiated

  • 90% of busy women don’t know how to nourish themselves


Have you ever wondered what you may be hungry for?


If you eat emotionally and use food to fill up on your feelings- it’s likely a sign that you need some self -nourishing.


There is eating because you are hungry and there is eating because you have emotional needs that haven’t been met and you want to fulfil them by other means, so you eat to feel better about yourself or you may be tired and need more energy.


When we constantly feel hungry and overeat, sometimes it’s not about the food. It’s about how you use food to self-soothe; numb yourself against the pain of living and how you use food to fill your feelings. After all, we are all hungering for something…


  • You may be feeling stressed and hungry for balance.

  • You may be hungry to do something other than work.

  • You may be hungry for “self nourishment ”


You may feel that you have no time for your self at the end of a hectic day and and there are far more important things to take care of to meet your own needs


This is a common barrier for women and can be difficult to overcome. Making time and space for you and letting go of emotional guilt may help you stop using food and address your real needs and emotions.


"You will not satisfy emotional hunger with food because emotional eating is a result of emotional triggers and unresolved issues that need addressing" Irena Geller


When you use food to fill up on your feelings, you may feel satisfied in that moment but the feelings that triggered the eating will still be there.

In fact you will likely feel worse than you did before and experience guilt and disappointment with yourself.


  • Your know that nourishing yourself in meaningful ways is more satisfying in the long run and is vital to your health!

  • You are in charge of nourishing your self- no one else can do it


Here are five ways to nourish yourself to help you get in the practise of making your self a priority:


Start by identifying & honouring your needs

Learning and implementing self-nourishing strategies requires that you practise and get creative to find out what will work for you.

1. Create a list of activities that restore and rejuvenate you

Stop, pause and take 5 mins out of your day to write down 10 things that will are self-nourishing


Examples: walks, walking on the beach, sunsets, massage, swimming, colouring in, singing, dancing…. you get the drift


Now, separate these into 2 separate lists: everyday acts of self care and monthly acts of self care


2. Start with taking small steps

Now that you have created a list start small and try not to fit all the activities in in one week and cram 10 things into one day


  • Spread your nourishing activities out, some things you may want to do daily, some weekly, some monthly

  • Let go of perfection and enjoy

  • Start with an activity that may only take 5 mins a day

  • Build it into a mini habit and as you start to feel the benefits you can increase the activities or the time allocated


3. Block out times in your calendar

Now that you have committed yourself to self-nourishment activities, schedule a time every day to make sure you do it


  • Then schedule a time at least once a week that you do a weekly act

  • Then schedule a time for an activity you want to do monthly

  • Plan ahead and block out times the same way you plan your appointments


Remember you are your most important engagement!

4. Be present when you are practising your self-nourishing activities

This may feel challenging at first and you may drift off to doing work activities.


  • Gently bring yourself back to where you are, with out judgement

  • Remind yourself that you are the most important project you will ever work on

  • Continue and repeat if you drift again

  • You will get better with practise and will eventually look forward to these breaks

  • As you practise allocating time for you during the day you will feel empowered and confident in your ability to become the master of your time.


5. Nourishing yourself should feel enjoyable

Nourishing yourself should feel enjoyable and not like another chore on you’re already long to –do list


  • If you have scheduled a nourishing activity but you are too tired – go to bed

  • Sleeping is self-nourishing too and you will feel refreshed the next morning

  • Making wise decisions is self –nourishment too!


When your nourishment bucket is full, you will be firing on all stations: bursting with energy, feel emotionally balanced, spiritually enhanced and ready to cope with any curve balls life throws you!


Now lets hear from you….


  • Do you fill up on your feelings to help you cope with life?


If you fill up on your feelings as a coping mechanism and your first impulse is to open the refrigerator whenever you’re stressed, overwhelmed, lonely or exhausted, you may be stuck in an unhealthy cycle and your real feelings are not being addressed.


Ultimately finding out the reason why you are filling up on your feelings and applying some ways to get OUT of that cycle will help you start eating with a sense of FREEDOM, self-confidence and empowerment.


It’s never too late to make a positive change. You can find healthier ways to deal with your emotions, learn to eat mindfully, regain control of your weight, and finally, put a stop to your emotional eating.


If you would like help & support with finding healthier ways to nourish yourself and accountability to make sure you follow through, than contact me for a chat a 15-minute discussion.

It’s free. And it might change your life.


Irena Geller

Your Emotional Eating Coach

I am a creative scientist and an Emotional Eating Coach who helps 35+ busy women to stop fighting with emotional eating, stress eating and overwhelm and start living the lives they’ve been craving.




1.The Relationship Between Basic Need Satisfaction And Emotional Eating

2. Amygdala

3.. War-Art-Through-Creative-Battles


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