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    That was a couple of years ago. As I continued to work on replacing the false comfort of my emotional eating with the joy of making friends and pursuing new interests, my food cravings and the "void" came less and less often.

    Most important, I was no longer at their mercy. When a craving loomed, I could see it as a signal to think rather than a command to eat. It was a signal that the newly empowered person I'd become could still feel vulnerable and unsure of herself at times. When that happened, my cravings and "void" came racing to the rescue, as they had done so many, many times before.

    Only now I no longer needed them. I could choose to think instead of eat when a craving came along. I learned to say to myself then, "What part of the Whole Me, the part that still is scared sometimes but that I've been able to bring out into the open, can I visit now, and comfort, and reassure?" These days, just stopping to think like this is usually enough to help me see that I really can handle whatever situation I'm in. And it reminds me that emotional eating doesn't handle anything.

    I like the thought that every time I do this -- for I still have occasional thoughts about overeating, and probably always will -- I'm saying goodbye again, with love and thanks, to my emotional eating.

    It was there when I needed it. But now I'm here, all of me.

    And that's enough.


    What Are Your Food Cravings Like?

    To learn more, ask yourself:

    • Do my food cravings follow the steps described in the article? If not, how are they different?
    • If the "void" described in the article is part of my food craving experience, how big a part is it? What do I think it could mean?
    • How do I feel if I can't eat the food I crave as quickly as I want to? How much of what I feel then is based on things I know are true (such as hunger or stress)?
    • Does the craving go away on its own if I don't eat the food? If not, what do I do about it?
    • How would I describe my "relationship" with food compared to my relationships with other people? In general, which is stronger?

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