Freedom from Emotional Eating, Food & Weight Obsession

Could Getting Passionate Help You Stop Binge Eating?

Do you feel passionate about anything; a hobby, a vocation… maybe even a cause?

If you could feel passionate about something, do you think that might help you stop binge eating? Let me explain my hypothesis…

Many of my clients tell me they wish they could “find their passion” (something other than trying to get thinner). Often, they’ve spent much of their lives fighting their demons around food and body; waiting to “fix” that problem, before their lives could really begin. That leaves them with this empty feeling, “is this all there is”?  That empty feeling often gets filled with more food and weight-focus.

If one is obsessed with food and weight, where is there time or an inclination to develop a passion about anything else, i.e.,  a focus on beauty; in art or nature, or to seek out experiences that might be wonderfully enriching or exciting, or to find some passion that feeds the soul; leaving the person feeling fully alive?

I felt passionate this afternoon, in of all places, a movie theater.

Today, I went to see the documentary, Blackfish, the story of young Orca whales stolen for their mothers and forced to entertain humans at theme parks around the world.  I went to the movie alone because my friends, animal lovers like I am, all said they could not watch that movie;  just too painful to witness. But I felt compelled, ever since watching the movie trailer a few weeks back.

For weeks, I let my curiosity and interest in seeing the movie grow. I started watching YouTube videos about Tilikum, the Orca featured in the movie, and my passion to learn more about the injustices done to these whales and to the trainers who work with them, grew…as did my anger and desire to do something, to have a voice, to have some impact. Today, I made a plan to see the documentary.

I left the movie theater very churned up; passionate about the plight of these majestic creatures. I came home and did some more research, signed an online petition pushing for SeaWorld to build a sea pen that would allow Tilikum, now in isolation much of the time, to at least have some room to swim and feel the normal rhythms of the ocean. Unfortunately, after 25 years in captivity, returning him back into the wild is not a viable option. Other such attempts have proven to be unsuccessful; as was the case with the whale who starred in the movie, “Free Willy“.

My passion about the plight of Tilikum, and the other whales and dolphins in captivity now (or soon to be), lead me to write this post…and to encourage others to tell theme parks that support the capture of dolphins and whales, for profit, how they feel. If so moved, speak with your wallet. Refuse to buy tickets to see these animals perform. Instead, take your families to Washington State or Alaska, California or New York, and see Orca Whales in their natural habitats.  Go see Blackfish (see the movie trailer above). Talk about this movie with friends who might someday plan to take their family to SeaWorld. I’ve posted on the Blackfish Facebook page. I have also donated to Rick O’Barry’s efforts to stop the capture and slaughter of dolphins in Japan. And I will continue to look for ways to have some impact, in whatever small ways I can. I feel passionate about this cause! Four weeks ago, the plight of these whales was not even on my radar.

These days, I cultivate my passions with great deliberateness.  These days, I cultivate passion to help me stop binge eating…because when I feel my feelings, I am less likely to binge eat; or to choose to go numb with food. At night, if I find myself feeling vulnerable to a binge, I got to YouTube and watch dog rescue and dog reunion videos…and I have a good cry. Then, my need to binge fades.  That’s how I found HopeforPaws, a non-profit rescue group in LA. The rescuer in an amazing guy named Eldad who gets stray dogs off the streets of LA using cheeseburgers and his lucky leash.  I just wrote a small check to their “Cheeseburger Fund”. Knowing I have bought a cheese burger that will help rescue a hungry, scared, stray dog feels much better than eating one myself! That’s how passion feeds the soul! Here’s one of Eldad’s videos that went viral.


I hope you’ll look for something to be passionate about…there are opportunities all around you. Please let us know if cultivating passion helps you stop binge eating…


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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