I can't tell you how many people have protested to me ". . . but, Carol . . . nothing 'works' like food!" That is a true sign of food addiction and that you are overeating and using food to self medicate. You either want to turn off your mind or turn off your feelings. You don't want to think about the stress . . . or how you feel . . . or what just happened. You don't want to think about how much you have to do, how many responsibilities you have . . . or how much pressure and uncertainty you are dealing with. And you certainly don't want to feel how exhausted, or angry or resentful or scared you feel. Overeating is an attempt to go numb. As one of my clients says "it's easier to stuff my feelings than to feel them." Maybe you just need a break from having to deal with it all - there's nothing wrong with that! A short respite from bearing all the 'weight' can be a welcome relief. But if you use overeating to give you that respite, then you only make things worse. It's easy to keep going back to food because . . . in the moment . . . it can be nearly impossible to think of something better to do. Let's face it. No other substitute is quite as easy as food. The good news is . . . It's ok! You can change addictive patterns. You can learn to manage the feelings and the stress and the chaos. You can learn to deal with events that happen in your life that are unfair, stressful and disappointing. Start With 1 Small Thing When something happens that is disappointing (you know, when life lets you down) and you have the urge for food - ask yourself what you are feeling. Try to think of a different way you can think about your situation. Just sit with the feelings and think about it. Be willing to feel your feelings. Just let them wash over you. I don't mean wallow in them for 3 hours. If you allow yourself to actually feel your feelings, they actually dissipate quickly. It's when you avoid feelings that they stay with you. For instance, Mary felt guilty because she chose to workout at a gym, which took time away from her children. When we discussed her situation, she came up with another perspective "I'm going to be a better mom because I am taking time for myself." When she could start to change her thinking, she started to feel better about herself . . . she felt energized . . . and had less guilt and less need to overeat. In fact, simply by "reframing" the situation (finding a different way to 'frame' it), she lost the urge to overeat. After practicing this technique, she got to the point that food didn't 'work' for her anymore. Because she was feeling her feelings, and learning to reframe her perspective of events, she didn't need to medicate her feelings with food. That is a very important benchmark! You can get there too.