Freedom from Emotional Eating, Food & Weight Obsession

Anticipating Needs and Speaking Up; Especially Around Food

Woman having surgeryA friend of mine had surgery this past week and, in advance, she did something I greatly admire. She anticipated her upcoming wants and needs and then clearly let friends and family know what those were, including her wishes about food.

Knowing her friends as well as she does, she knew there would be a steady parade of casseroles and homemade pastries coming to her door. So, in advance, she set clear boundaries…and she did so with grace and humor, skillfully avoiding insulting anyone. Here’s what she wrote in her pre-surgery email (names changed to honor her request for anonymity)…


Hi Everyone,

Many, many thanks for your cards, emails, gifts, phone calls and kind offers of assistance.

Drum roll please…:

  • Bob will send out regular emails so you’ll know what’s happening
  • Please don’t post anything on Facebook about my surgery. I’d rather not share this with the whole world.
  • I’m told that recovery is different for different people, and we won’t know right away when I can have visitors. Bob will keep you updated on that too.
  • After I’m home, my diet will still be restricted and Bob’s trying to lose weight, so “meals on wheels” are not really necessary. At some point we’ll start cruising restaurants again!




I love that, in advance, Jane and Bob anticipated being homebound (and likely bored), and communicated that they did not want a bunch of food around. I know so many people who would feel the same way but would not have said so, for fear they’d hurt someone else’s feelings;  all the while ignoring their own self-care. When Bob sent out his email saying Jane’s surgery had gone well, he reiterated, “Remember, no food, please.”

Very nice work my friends!  Wishing you an easy, speedy recovery “Jane”!

If you were going to be home recovering for an extended period of time, would you think this far ahead…get clear about how you wished to eat..and would you communicate your wishes to friends?  Today, I would follow my friend Jane’s lead. But, being totally honest here, there was a time when I would have used being sick and/or being home from the hospital as an opportunity to eat everything in sight…


Ellen Shuman is a pioneer in the field of Binge Eating Disorder; a Life Coach who specializes in helping people overcome emotional eating, compulsive eating, binge eating disorder, and food addiction. She is the founder of A Weigh Out & Acoria Binge Eating Disorder Treatment (1993-present), A Founding Member and Past President of BEDA; The Binge Eating Disorder Association (2011/2012), and Co-Founder of the Academy for Eating Disorders Special Interest Group on “Health at Every Size”. For information about Coaching Services, contact, 513-321-4242.

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About Ellen Shuman

Ellen on the phone

I have worked in the Wellness Field for 30 years. I created an Emotional Eating & Binge Eating Disorder Recovery Program way before most people knew BED was an eating disorder, NOT a “willpower” issue. Personally, I suffered for years before finding answers and the help I needed and deserved! I became a Coach in 1997 to help others who were still suffering as I had. I love being a Coach!


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