Freedom from Emotional Eating, Food & Weight Obsession

Emotional Overeating and Emotional Maturity

Emotionally distraught Woman hammer computer trying not to emotionally overeatAnyone ever tell you that you need to do a better job of managing your emotions….and your immediate reaction is to explode? Then, do you turn to emotional overeating to avoid feeling anything?

Over the years, in response to some of the emotional management skills I teach, I’ve heard clients say, “I know. It’s time to put on my big girl pants and just get it done.” Well, when it comes to overcoming emotional overeating, it’s a lot more complicated than just making a decision to be more emotionally mature…more than just saying, “I will no longer use food to avoid feeling emotionally churned up”.

Recovery from emotional overeating requires we learn effective emotional management skills we may have missed during our “formative years”. (Growing up, if you had parents in your life who did a great job of modeling how to manage uncomfortable feelings, thoughts, and situations, you were very lucky!) Emotional maturity and overcoming emotional overeating require access to new skills and tools, a willingness to grow and mature in areas that require emotional regulation. By that I mean, how calmly and rationally do we respond to people, circumstances, and our own thoughts and feelings…especially the uncomfortable ones!

How good of a job are you doing at managing “Life”.

In the mail, I once received a note from a contact person at The Menninger Clinic. Inside the envelop, she enclosed a book mark with a wonderful description of emotional maturity. Here it is…

“The Criteria of Emotional Maturity”

  • The ability to deal constructively with reality
  • The capacity to adapt to change
  • A relative freedom from symptoms that are produced by tension and anxieties
  • The capacity to find more satisfaction in giving than receiving
  • The capacity to relate to other people in a consistent manner with mutual satisfaction and helpfulness
  • The capacity to sublimate, to direct one’s instinctive hostile energy into creative and constructive outlets
  • The capacity to love

(By William C. Menninger, MD (1899-1966), cofounder of The Menninger Clinic, Copyright 1966)

What do you think?  Are you where you want to be emotional maturity-wise?  If not, is that driving any of your emotional overeating? What are you willing to do about it? Please know that any action you might take, in a healthy direction, is a step toward more emotional maturity and likely less emotional overeating…


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 Life Coaching (1997-present) & Acoria Binge Eating Disorder Treatment (1993-2005), A Founding Member and Past President of BEDA; The Binge Eating Disorder Association (merged with NEDA), 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 or use the CONTACT form on this website.

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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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