Healthy Food Story  >  Read This Next Time You’re Looking for Emotional Support from Your Fridge

Read This Next Time You’re Looking for Emotional Support from Your Fridge

emotional-eatingWe've all been there, especially after a rough day/week/month/year.

On the outside, we might keep a smile on, and let everyone else assume we’ve got it all together. But all too often, we find ourselves standing in front of the fridge with no idea how we even got there.

We reach in and grab that jar of creamy peanut butter, the pint of chocolate ice cream, or the cold slice of pizza - knowing that we really aren’t even hungry.

Yep, it’s a textbook case of “emotional eating” - the term we all love to hate. And it happens to the best of us.

Believe it or not, in this very moment when you are about to open the door to your refrigerator or pantry, you have a chance to turn it all around.

It’s time to take a step back and figure out why you’re standing there, once more, with junk food on the brain. Because filling in that frustration with treats? It won’t last long.

What will? Real nourishment. Connection. Compassion. Joy.

This isn’t always easy to remember when it’s 10 PM after a rough phone call, or an argument with your moody teenager, or a pile of unanswered work emails in your inbox. We’re humans. We’re stressed. We forget.

It’s not about what you’re eating in that moment. It’s about what’s eating YOU.

As a starting point, I’ve come up with a simple script for the next time you’re in a standoff with your fridge. A reminder that food is not really your best solution.

This script is not like putting a padlock on your refrigerator door, or shouting a mantra as you try desperately not to devour something.

It’s a mental shift... a new beginning intended to click your brain out of “urge” mode and serve as the initial realization you need to dig deeper into your emotions to discover how & why you ended up there in the first place.

I’ve crafted this letter/script into a beautiful worksheet that is more nourishing than a bar of dark chocolate. You can easily fill it out online and save to your desktop, or print it and affix to your favorite place (your food journal, your daily planner, or even your fridge.)

CLICK HERE to download and use the next time you’re trying to quench your feelings with food.

Dear Me,First off, I want you to take a deep breath. Now, exhale.

I know you had a hard day, again. There’s a ton on your plate. And sometimes, it all gets to be a bit much.

But you know what? Whatever you’re about to reach for—it’s not the answer.

Yes, it might distract you for a few minutes, or make you think you feel better temporarily. But eventually, the stress will resettle.

You deserve to feel great. You deserve to feel whole, happy, and satisfied. But you won’t find any of that in here.

Take another deep breath again. Exhale.

Ask yourself: What are you actually seeking? Are you physiologically hungry? Tired?

Remember, It can be tough to fight off cravings when your blood sugar is low. If you haven’t eaten enough today, or balanced your meals and snacks with heart-healthy fats, clean protein and complex carbs, then go ahead and grab some nutrient-dense foods that always make you feel energized & happy.

Not genuinely hungry? Don’t sweat it.

Here are a few ideas for compassionately dealing with your cravings... instead of sweets & carbs followed by a big old serving of guilt.

Do one, or try them all!

Call someone who makes you feel as good as a slice of pecan pie. A best friend, sibling, partner, parent, etc.

List three people you can connect with here:


Step away from the fridge, and go do an activity that makes you feel awesome

This might mean going for a run, swinging a hula hoop a few times at midnight, or just heading outside and breathing in the fresh air.

Include a few physical activities you can easily do right now:


Jam to, or dance around the house to a song you adore

Quick! Write down your top three happiness theme songs, and let the party begin:


Bonus: Serve yourself up your favorite saying

Think of a phrase or quote that gives you strength and refreshes your spirit again and again? Say it to yourself out loud, now.


You don’t need food to help you feel better. Instead, it’s time to reach out to the people and things that nourish you deeply; in mind, body, and spirit.

That’s real soul food, baby. Eat up.

Love, Me

Now it’s your turn…

After you've worked through the script, don't forget to share your stories & insights on how you plan to walk away next time you're looking for emotional support from the fridge.

25 Comments

  • lily says:

    This is so great. So often we turn to food when really we need self-care, love, and acceptance. Wonderful message and a reminder to slow down and practice mindfulness when we get in those situations. 🙂

  • Summer says:

    Elise, it always feels like you’re speaking directly to me in your blog posts!! My husband was just asking me last night where the sunflower seed butter was! My answer was…I bought it over a week ago and eat it everyday as a treat!
    Next time I’m going to practice taking a bath with lavender oil or listen to calming music when I catch myself standing with the fridge door open!

    • Elise says:

      Summer,
      I know all about the delicious sunflower seed butter (my absolute fave!). The bath with lavender oil and the the calming music sound super nourishing. Thanks for sharing! xx

  • ingrid says:

    Indeed it is a great reminder I know years ago when I was tired I’d reach for a coffee or chocolate, what I now know is I should have been listening to my body and had a few early nights prior and given my body time to properly rest so I didn’t have those afternoon cravings. I can’t recall the last time I had a coffee these days 8 hours sleep and morning yoga is all I need to get me through the day. I think possibly at times it was at time a case of boredom which has gone now since I work for myself and love it. I was also a person who ate when I was stressed. Once I learn to recoginsie the signs and treat the stress those food habits left. It takes time and practice to stop, breathe and listen to what our body is really telling us.

    • Elise says:

      Ingrid,
      Wow! That’s huge that you no longer reach for the coffee or chocolate and now have tools for recognizing what your body really needs. You are so right that it takes time and practice to listen to what our body is really telling us, but as you experienced, it is worth the effort. Thanks for sharing your wisdom.

  • Eva says:

    I can really relate to this! Printing and Posting on my fridge. What a great reminder to take my focus out of the fridge and into more joyous activities during stressful moments!

    • Elise says:

      Eva, I love that you are printing and posting! Have fun with the more joyous activities to relieve any stress. Thanks for sharing your enthusiasm.

  • Jenny says:

    Great practical advice! Love this quote!! It’s not about what you’re eating in that moment. It’s about what’s eating YOU.

  • Wow! This is the best emotional eating turn around strategy I’ve ever heard! Actually, maybe it’s the first actual strategy I’ve ever heard, aside from the shameful, “Get that out of your hand!” or just “Stop it!”. Those old messages don’t really get to the root at all and just make you feel worse. This is a really beautiful letter and also a lesson in self-compassion. Thanks, Elise!

    • Elise says:

      Court, we need to remove shame from the equation…it’s hard though. Thank you for your kind words and the reminder that we need to remember the self-compassion part of the equation.

  • This is great. I know I used to turn to food to self-medicate ALL the time. Still do but to an extent. Having a reminder is a great way to make yourself take a step back… the core of eating emotioanlly is that we try to fill a void. That void, however, cannot be filled with food. It is a matter of self-awareness and asking yourself ‘what is it that you truly want?’

    I used to have a letter like this about binging. I would read through it each time I wanted to binge. It helped. Awesome post.

    • Elise says:

      Kammie,
      Thanks for sharing your insights. It’s so true that you need to ask yourself the deeper question. (It’s hard in the moment.) I would love to see your letter to help with binge eating.

  • Renee says:

    What a beautiful message we can give ourselves when that temptation arises. I find myself wanting to celebrate with food more often than anything. My husband loves to reward us both with rich entrees and desserts by keeping the fridge stocked, so sometimes it’s difficult to push away that urge. Thank you for this letter – I will absolutely give it to myself the next time I come face-to-face with temptation.

  • ally says:

    Lately, I could really use a reminder like this. So appreciated! I completely resonate with everything you said here. Thankyou.

  • Bonnie says:

    Thanks so much Elise for always knowing what we need. The worksheet to have on the refrigerator before I eat for whatever reason is an important tool I would never have done myself.
    Your thoughtfulness and understanding is a great gift to those lucky to find you.

    Fondly,
    bonnie

  • I think we forget the emotions surrounding food and your tip with the letter on the fridge is a good way to remind ourselves that eating is just for physical health, but a big part of emotional health as well. Thanks for the tip 🙂

  • H. Wolf says:

    Elise I adore your blog posts and they have helped me so much in dealing with my binge eating issue! I was so proud because I hadn’t binged for weeks and now I’ve binged every day this week and feel helpless in this relapse 🙁

  • Andrea says:

    Dear Elise,
    Thank you so much for your work! I was searching for a “turmeric latte” recipie and found your blog!!! As you can imagine, i have some issues to deal with, and its far more complicated than preparing a latte (which was deliiiiicious by the way)…
    So many “bloggers” around, but you are the first one that make me stop and go deeper than seeing wonderful, colorful food.
    Thanks again!

    • Hi Andrea!

      I am so happy that the turmeric latte miraculously brought you to explore some of the posts that go deeper than the food. Thanks for introducing yourself and being here:)

      xo
      Elise

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.