Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Weight Loss & Diet Plans

Font Size
A
A
A

Breaking Free -- My Battle with Emotional Eating

By
WebMD Weight Loss Clinic-Feature

Talking to the mirror: "How can I be so fat? This isn't my body! This isn't me." But it was me, feeling miserable about my fat, distorted body through more than five decades of helplessness against the power of my food cravings and emotional eating.

I've eaten my way to a size 24 or more, and then lost 50 or more pounds, at least six times over those many years. Each time, after a (very) brief honeymoon with my slender and attractive self, my overwhelming food cravings pulled me in again. I gained the weight back, and more besides. Why? I didn't know, and try as I might, I couldn't figure it out. I was an intelligent and capable woman, but food cravings and being fat -- to say nothing of losing the weight and keeping it off -- seemed permanently beyond my understanding.

I was even unhappy a lot of the time during the periods when I "got thin" -- although you wouldn't necessarily have known it. Fat or thin, I wore a cheerful mask that fooled pretty much everybody but me. I couldn't fool myself, though: Even thin, I knew the cravings were still there, strong as ever. And I was their prisoner. It was as if my "fat fate" were sealed, and nothing I did could change it for long.

Then, after the decades of yo-yo dieting with no lasting result for my body or my life, something happened that did change my fate. And my fat. I decided to work, not on my body again -- at least not right away -- but on my heart. On my feelings (the "emotion" in "emotional eating"). And I lost 60 pounds without the torment of food cravings and backsliding.

WebMD has asked me to tell you my story of how, with professional help, I was able at last to escape the trap of emotional eating and an overweight body. I'm excited about telling it, and a little nervous, too. But because what I did may carry a message of hope for others, here goes!

Looking back over my life, I realize now that I was fat only for as long as I needed to be. True, that was a period of many years. But when at last I didn't need my fat anymore, it went away, along with my cravings.

Of course, the process of letting go of my fat and all that it meant in my life wasn't as simple as those few sentences make it sound. It was sometimes scary, sometimes reassuring. Sometimes puzzling, sometimes revealing. Sometimes it was even funny! But it was never hurtful. And toward the end, it was often joyous, as I realized that my old, self-loathing self had come to love and respect myself fat or thin, now and then. That I was no longer big, but whole.

How all this happened is what I'll be telling you about, and talking to you about, over the coming weeks. Of course, I'm just one person, and my story won't fit everyone who's struggling with food and fat. I'll be so happy if, for some of you who read this, being fat for now will no longer mean being fat forever.

Diana

Today on WebMD

vegetables
Video
feet on scale
Blog
 
Woman looking at reflection in mirror
Article
Hot cup of coffee
Quiz
 
pantry
Video
butter curl on knife
Quiz
 
eating out healthy
Article
Smiling woman, red hair
Article
 
6-Week Challenges
Want to know more?
Build a Fitter Family Challenge – Get your crew motivated to move.
Feed Your Family Better Challenge - Tips and tricks to healthy up your diet.
Sleep Better Challenge - Snooze clues for the whole family.
I have read and agreed to WebMD's Privacy Policy.
Enter cell phone number
- -
Entering your cell phone number and pressing submit indicates you agree to receive text messages from WebMD related to this challenge. WebMD is utilizing a 3rd party vendor, CellTrust, to provide the messages. You can opt out at any time.
Standard text rates apply
thumbnail_woman_tossing_spinach
Video
lunchbox
Article
 
What Girls Need To Know About Eating Disorders
Article
teen squeezing into jeans
fitfor Teens