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Life After Emotional & Binge Eating

Emptying my dishwasher stops emotional eating

Yup, choosing to take my clean dishes out of the dishwasher and put them away helps me reduce emotional eating. Let me explain why that’s so.

For much of my adult life I would run the dishwasher and then wouldn’t make the effort to put the clean dishes back in the cabinets. It just felt like too much effort. Then, when I needed a clean plate I would just take it right from the dishwasher. 

But then new dirty dishes would just pile up in the sink…couldn’t put them in the dishwasher because there were clean dishes in there. And when it was time to make dinner, the pan I needed to make my favorite shrimp and vegetable dish was under dirty dishes.

Then I had an excuse to order a large pepperoni pizza!  Busted!

I busted myself. I looked at my true intentions when I chose NOT to empty the dishwasher? I knew what would likely happen if I didn’t.  I’d certainly had enough experience with this to recognize my patterns.

Rather than judging myself for all the times in the past when I had maneuvered myself into “having” to order a big pizza, I instead decided to get unflinchingly honest about my true intentions. If I choose not to empty the dishwasher I am unconscioulsy or maybe even consciously setting myself up to not eat as healthfully as I walk around saying I want to eat.

Today, when I see the green light indicating my dishes are clean, I empty the dishwasher with a big smile on my face (I know, sounds goofy, but I do). I do it because when I make the conscious effort to put my clean dishes away I am telling myself that I am planning to eat healthfully today and I am backing it up with my behavior. And that feels really good! This is in integrity with the way I want to live. I am matching what I say I want with the actions that will support me getting there. 

With practice (not always perfection), I have come to trust my own word.  When I live intentionally and in integrity, my risk of emotional eating drops significantly. When I live intentionally I don’t have to go “mindless” with food to shut down feelings of regret and self-loathing…

Who knew emptying the dishwasher would end up at the top if my “Self-Care” List? It can be the little choices that make a big difference!


Ellen Shuman is a Life Coach who specializes in emotional and binge eating issues. She is the founder of A Weigh Out & Acoria Eating Disorder Treatment, Vice President of the Binge Eating Disorder Association (BEDA), and Co-Chair of the Academy for Eating Disorders Special Interest Group on “Health at Every Size”, ellen@aweighout.com


  1. sharon snearly says:

    I to have a dishwasher and i also leave my clean dishes in the dishwasher instead of putting them away. I never occured to me that putting the dishes away is good excerise. thankyou for the hint.


    Sharon Snearly

  2. Ellen Shuman, Emotional Eating Coach; A Weigh Out says:

    You’re welcome, Sharon. Mindfulness and self-care are useful tools when it comes to reducing emotional eating…even when it comes in the form of emptying a dishwasher!

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